Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tasting Art

I never knew food could look and taste so good. Our branch President who knows just about every decent place to eat in Mendoza (and it shows) recommended a bunch of different restaurants to us this week. So, we took the liberty to try one of them out a couple hours ago and it was about the best experience of my life. It was on the 14th floor of this hotel so you could see out across the whole city. Mendoza is a way legit city because there are giant trees on about every block so the whole view was just buildings surrounded by trees with the mountains as a backdrop. It was definitely a lunch worth savoring. This week was Stake Conference and since it´s at least one bus ride away and people here don´t have access to transportation so easily, it was hard to get investigators to church. We at least got one, but only because he came with his great grandma who is a super solid member that lives in another part of Argentina. We´ve been trying to work with his family but sometimes they´re hard to find and other times they don´t seem all too interested. We think they just listen to be nice and because their mom/grandma is a member so they let us in for now. But we´re going to keep go by in hopes that they´ll start progressing at some point haha. Other than that...that one family that was progressing SO WELL is acting way weird now and we have no idea what happened. I guess sometimes when something seems too good to be true it is.. And that other family that came to church had a family excursion this week so they didn´t come. The dad is kinda progressing but he sometimes doesn´t seem that interested either soooo we´ll have to see how we can help him out this week. The good news is we´ve starting teaching another family who seems pretty legit. The mom is way evangelical so sometimes she´s kinda got a few weird ideas but for now she´s pretty open. The husband doesn´t have as much of a religious background but it seems like he might be more open just because he won´t have to stop going to a church and leave behind people he knows like his wife might have to do. We´re really trying to help her understand the importance of authority but I don´t think she´s quite got it yet because evangelicals think about it in a way different way. But as she gains a testimony of the Book of Mormon we´re sure everything else will fall into place. Welp, I think that´s about it for now. Kinda weird to think that next monday will probably be the last time letter I write home... Welp, With all the love of art in my mouth, Elder Lounsbury P.S. tell Cheryl and the kids thanks for the letter that they sent...2 months ago?? Just got it this week...good thing they didn´t wait much longer to send it! haha..

Monday, October 29, 2012

I never did like rollercoasters

This week was SO WEIRD. Remember that great family I was telling you about last week? Yeah, well the disapeared from off the face of the earth. We went by like 4 times this week and had no luck at all. We´re really afraid something happened and they´re just ignoring us but we can´t think of what possibly could have happened to make them do that. They seemed SO PERFECT. Maybe we just got really unlucky with when we went by the house and when we called them but I guess we´ll just have to see how it all turns out. On Saturday we had an appointment with the other couple we´re working with where one of the parents is a member and the other isn´t. Usually the dad is all smiles and jokes but when he opened the door he just blankly looked at us and then turned and loudly asked if the wife was going to talk to us. He kinda just walked to to the back of the house and she talked to us a little bit and then he left and walked out the door. We were just like uh...what in the world is going on? We thought that he was mad at us but turns out we just showed up at a bad time haha. The whole family showed up to church on Sunday. We could not believe it. We had invited the mom before we left on Saturday but it was just a weird situation and we didn´t really expect anything to come from up. That kinda weirdness just sums up the week. But I guess we can´t complain too much for unexpected miralces haha. We had the primary program this week in both branches and as always they were some way funny parts. It was kinda cool how they did it though, little kids said the beginning and closing prayers and there was this little kid who introduced all of the kids who were going to get up and talk etc. It was great. The kid who did the last prayer (who is the son of our way legit next door neighbor family) started out very loudly saying "When I was baptized my dad baptized me." Hahah. I don´t know what kinda pray starts out like that but it was hilarious. Other than that things are pretty normal. We´ve been finding and teaching a lot of people who have a lot of potential but we´ll have to see if they can make some progress this week and come to church so that they can get baptized on the 17th. With all the love of a primary, Elder Lounsbury

Monday, October 22, 2012

Spring Showers

Well family, this week has been pretty incredible. We have been teaching people like crazy and I love it SO much. We´ve had some really great lessons and we´re starting to see progress with a lot of people. One of our investigators that has been progressing the most is the wife of a less active member. I think we barely just found them last week but every time we show up she´s read all of the pamphets that we leave for her and understands everything way well. She´s started reading the book of mormon right now so we´re really hoping next time we go back she´s already read a decent amount and prayed about it. She has a baptismal date for the 17th (my last Saturday) so I´m REALLY hoping she makes it. She was way commited to coming to church this week but her husband got called into work Sunday morning so she didn´t make it. We´re also excited because his whole family are inactive members so if we get him to start going maybe we can start working on them as well. She´s also got a lot of family members who live close by and she´s already starting explaining to them everything she´s learning. His family and her family could be the spark that our tiny little branch needs. Other than that some of the other investigators we´ve been teaching since last month have kinda gotten cold. Two of them are the daughters of a recent convert and even though they both feel like everything is true they still have doubts about getting baptized right now. I know we should be content recognizing we planted some giant seeds there but sometimes you just want to see them take that step to follow Christ. This week was Elder Drennan´s birthday so I made him some pancakes in the morning and we had a BBQ at a members/investigators house to celebrate in style. Also this week we had zone conference which meant we had to get up infront of everyone and give a little training segment. We basically just talked about how to better use our missionary planners and how to be more organized with all of the information we have to handle as missionaries. We were going to give it on something a lot more interesting but the assistants selected two chapters from Preach My Gospel so we ended up talking about that haha. Welp, I think that´s about it for now. With all the love of rain on monday morning, Elder Lounsbury

Monday, October 15, 2012

Messi in Mendoza

The world´s current greatest soccer player graced Mendoza with his presence on Friday when the national team played Uruguay about 15 minutes away from our apartment. And guess who got his signature??? Not us... On Thursday we had a meeting in the Mendoza stake center and while we walked there from the bus stop we passed this block infront of a hotel that was fenced off by police officers and a couple swat teams. Given the fact that the Argentine national team played the next day and that there was a bus with the national team logo on the back waiting to leave the hotel it wasn´t hard to figure out that the national team was about a football field away from us. But we had more important things to do than get a million dollar signature....right? The meeting went pretty well at least. There´s a new focus in the mission about teaching complete families, and especially about focusing on dads. So we talked about how we can better focus on teaching whole families even though it might mean giving up an appointment during the siesta and scheduling it in the evening when the dad is home. Sometimes that´s a lot harder than it sounds because it´s hard to find people to teach durning the siesta and if someone wants us to come by it´s hard to say "No, we want to come by when all the family is here" but in the long run it´s what´s best. We´re still talking about the importance of referrences and working with the members and the asistants want us to talk about it some more this Wednesday when we have Zone Conference. Soooo that´s going to be fun. Hopefully it doesn´t turn out too borning haha. This week we had a way interesting lesson with one of our investigators. We were trying to figure out what her doubt was because she didn´t want to commit to being baptized even though she pretty much agreed to everything else (Word of Wisdom etc.). We basically asked her all of the baptismal interview questions and she answered correctly to all of them....but still said she didn´t get baptized. She said she didn´t know why and even when we asked her if she´d do it if God told her that she needed to she still said no. Sooo that was pretty depresing. We´ve been working with her FOREVER. I think we´re going to give her one more chance and really focus our lesson on how to get a testimony but if she keeps up we´re going to have to drop her... The good news is we´ve found two LEGIT couples. One has two kids and the other has three (all similar ages) and in each of the couples one of them isn´t a member and the other one is a less active member. Their both pretty open to listen to us and we´ve got a lot of hope for both of them. The only problem is that they should be apart of Boulogne Sur Mer which is the super tiny branch with hardly any members we can use so that these investigators have more friends in the church. The classes and overall feel of church is just way different too so they´re going to have to get really good testimonies haha. Anyways, that´s the update on that. Welp, I think that´s about all I got for now. Hope you all are doing great! With all the love of Messi, Elder Lounsbury

Monday, October 8, 2012

Curbside Prophet

I love General Conference. I always leave wishing it never ended. I think my favorite talk of the conference was by Elder Holland. I don´t think he´s given a single talk I don´t love to death. If any of you missed it, go watch it right now. haha. How crazy that young men can now leave at 18 and that girls can leave at 19! I also LOVE the new youth teaching program, Come Follow Me. I think it´s a great improvement and will really help the youth have a stronger conversion. From what I understand it will be a mostly online-based program allowing for updated links to new Genereal Conference and Ensign talks. Pretty much it´s a brilliant idea. I´m way excited to see its effects. In preparation for conference my companion and I made some root beer from extract his family sent him AND IT WAS DELICIOUS. Although it wasn´t your typical A&W quality, it sure tasted like it after going rootbeer-less for so long. I also found a giant bar of Hersheys Cookies and Cream in Walmart. IN.CRED.I.BLE. This weekend was pretty great. We had four investigators come to conference which was fantastic, but it seemed like either they didn´t understand everything or got a little bored because they didn´t have much to say afterwords haha. I walked out feeling like I was in the clouds and they were like, "yeeahhhh, I guess it was good." Haha. I couldn´t believe it. But at least they´re exercising their faith. They´re just still making WAY SLOW progress. But we´re not giving up quite yet. If Nephi would have given up the first or second time he attempted to get the plates from Laban he never would have succeeded. The harder something is the better the reward will be. We were actually late to the first session of conference. While we were about 3 blocks away, this guy asked us to help him carry his luggage (which he referred to as his cross). He looked about 27 and was wearing worn out clothes. At first I thought it was just that "worn out" style that a lot of clothes have but his patched beard and odd smell made me consider differently. He told us it would be three blocks but I figured it would be a lot more. And I was right. On the way he told us he was a Jewish missionary from Chile (which seemed a bit weird because he was looking for a Catholic church). We asked him if he believed in the New Testament and in Jesus Christ and he said he did. We were pretty confused. I felt way bad for Elder Drennan because he had to carry this giant duffel bag that apparently was full of bibles and study books and I only had a medium sized bag that rolled on wheels haha. After various blocks he started talking to us in broken English. Our weird conversation in half English and half Spanish got even weirder when he asked two men behind us where the closest Catholic church was. Turns out they were both Catholic priests, one was from Argentina and the other was from Scotland. The one from Argentina was fluent in English and I think the one from Scotland at least understand Spanish. I had no idea if they knew the guy with us understood English or if they knew we understand Spanish but the conversation that followed was quite strange. I wonder what conclusions they made from two Mormon missionaries practically held captive by this self-called "Jewish missionary" looking for a Catholic church on a random street corner in downtown Mendoza. After their instructions we walked where they hadn´t told us to go (obviously) and our journey ended when our friend found the "white cross" he was looking for...which was really the logo of a pharmacy. At one point he told us to walk on the yellow curb because yellow protected him from satan. And before he left I thought he mutter something like "we have been discovered." I wonder if the cop car that had pulled over and parked had anything to do about it... haha. It was the most bewildering experience of my life. Oh, transfers were today, and...I´m staying! Which means I will end my mission without getting to know the other two providences in the mission, but I´m alright with that. I was pretty sure that I was going to stay and I´m glad that´s how it turned out. Elder Drennan is staying too which will be great because we get along good and work well together. Welp, I think that´s about it! With all the love of patchy beards, Elder Lounsbury

Potato Soup and Spaghetti

Things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out. We tend to turn a day without lunch into an opportunity to put a little American twist in our Argentine cosine. On Thursday we found ourselves in such circumstances. We decided to make some improvised Sloppy Joes using some spicy ketchup we´ve found here and while buying the needed supplies we had the inspiration to buy some mashed potato packets in case the Sloppy Joes didn´t suffice. My companion took care of cooking the meat so the task of making the mashed potatoes fell upon me. I knew after I had boiled the water and added the milk that the proportions of liquid to potato packet seemed to be erroneously uneven, but I didn´t understand how this potato packet was going to turn any liquid into mashed potatoes so I ignored the hunch. This potato stuff must be more magical than I thought. I affirm that at some point when I was pouring the packet in the liquid that the mixture reached true mashed potato consistency but by the time the not so magically mix had been absorbed by the water I was left with something that appeared more like potato soup than mashed potatoes. I figured I´d boil out the extra water that had mysteriously gotten in but after about 20 minutes, a burnt pan bottom and a few potato splashed on the oven we decided just to scratch the whole idea and eat some soup with our Sloppy Joes. Fail. 22 months on the mission and I still can´t successfully make fake mashed potatoes. It was pretty hilariously though. On Sunday our scheduled lunch texted us during church asking if we could move it to next week. Given the fact that we had nothing to eat in the pench, that it was Sunday and we couldn´t buy anything, and that next week we have lunches every day, we said yes. Somewhere in the back of the cupboard we pulled out half a bag of spaghetti noodles and a homemade bottle of tomatoes that an investigator had given us. We rolled up the sleeves and tucked in the ties and prayed for a modern-day food-version of turning water into wine. It didn´t really work. We tried spicing the sauce with a packet of taco seasoning. Nothing. Once on the noodles we tried adding tobacco sauce. Nothing. BBQ sauce. Worse. Finally my companion ended with putting ketchup on his and I put old Fritos-like chips on mine. It was so funny. We were just dying. It´s great finding stuff to laugh about. We had a great week with investigators. Those two girls didn´t come to church and we´ve kinda started thinking about dropping them for a week and seeing if it makes any difference. BUT, the great news is seven other people came to church this week so pretty much we´ve got a lot of work in front of us. Five of the people that came to church came with the help of members which is GREAT. We´ve started teaching the family of a recent convert and a couple friends of a this reactivating family. And besides those seven who came to church we´re also making some progress with the kids of an inactive (and offended) member because they come to play soccer every Wednesday now. We need to start teaching them but they´ve already got friends in church and one of them even remembers going to our church before. They´re way cool kids. I really hope I stay here for my last transfer, it would be pretty weird for me to leave but it always could happen... Welp, with all the love of a failed cooking, Elder Lounsbury P.S. this week I had a dream that I came home and Emma and Madeline had turned like half emo and had all kinds of lip, eye and nose piercings. It was pretty terrible. Please tell me it won´t be like that haha.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monsters Under the Bed

On Thursday our weekly planing session was interrupted by the discovery that we weren´t alone in the apartment. We were in the middle of a little chocolate break when we spied the intruder. A series of tactical strategym was discussed and developed. Precise SWAT maneuvers were carried out. The culprit was detained. However, the imprisonment was a little anticlimactic because the convict was already dead. It still way freaked us out. The thing had 8 eyes and 8 legs and was about as big as the glass that it had been trapped in. We´ve been a little uneasy for the past couple of days because of the experience. We shook out all our sheets and blankets and looked for other monsters under the bed and in the closets. So far we only have one prisoner. Although I´m not really sure if that´s a good thing or not. It either means our little roommate was a rare exception or that we just haven´t found his buddies yet... I´m hoping it´s the first. This week we feel like we´ve made progress (however little it might be) with some of our investigators that are SO close to getting baptized. Pretty much we have three people that have testimonies and that are keeping the commandments but that don´t want to get baptized...yet. They all admit they´ll do it in the future, but two of them have been saying that for the last couple months... The interesting thing is that they all agreed to have someone do the baptismal interview with them. So we´re REALLY hoping whoever does the interviews will be able to work some miracles and help these people see that it doesn´t make any sense to put off a bunch of blessings until later if they´re ready for them now. So we´re really praying they´ll get over their fear or whatever it is that is holding them back. That´s pretty much the biggest news this week. We´re starting to see some results from playing soccer on Wednesdays with all the kids that go. One of them who has been inactive for a while came to church last week and just seemed like he was way happy. And we´re starting to gain the trust of a couple brothers who aren´t members but who have family that is. We´re hoping we can start making the spiritual part a little bigger so that´s they develop more than friendships when they play. The father of some of those kids came for the first time in a long time so we´re way excited. His wife starting going to church like two months ago and gave a talk last week which was also way cool. They shared desires to go to the temple in a year so we´re way excited to see them making giant leaps. Welp, that´s about all I got. With all the love of a spider, Elder Lounsbury P.S. Zoom in on the eyes

Monday, September 17, 2012

Helping Hands

On Saturday we had the opportunity to be apart of a Mormon Helping Hands service project. We completely fixed up a neighborhood plaza/park here in Mendoza. We welded, sanded, and painted a play structure that was pretty beaten up. We also painted benches, took out a ton of rocks from the soccer field, planted trees and some people were even completely renovating this public building that served for something in the park haha. We got to wear to those cool Mormon Helping Hands jerseys and I saw one of the recent converts from Godoy Cruz so everything turned out pretty cool. Two new people came to church this week which is pretty great because the two people we have closest to baptism are progressing a lot slower than normal people haha. We´ve mostly been working in Cementista, the bigger branch, and haven´t done much in the smaller branch but this week we found a lot of way cool people who live in the area of the smaller branch so we´re excited to start working a little bit more over there. We had to give talks in Cementista this week so we just gave the same ones we gave in the smaller branch a couple of weeks ago haha. Altough I changed mine a lot and I think it turned out way better. It´s like we always get a practice round with the smaller branch and then we can change it and make it better for the bigger one haha. We had a Family Home Evening with Alex and Carla, our recent converts, and since their mom is from mexico we had tacos after the lesson. And they were incredible. They made their own tortillas and their own hot sauce. We walked out like 10 pounds heavier... They´re a way cool family though. They´re all way legit, Alex is inviting some of his friends to the soccer activities on Wednesday and one of them came to church this week so that´s way legit. We´re trying to get teaching moments in with the dad so hopefully he´ll get a testimony here pretty soon... We just got back from the closest thing they have to a mall here and they had some iPads you could type on and stuff and it was wayyyyyy legit. The place also has a Burger King and the whole thing is just like a little taste of the states. It was delicious, especially the iPad. Other than that...time is going by way too fast. The weeks are just flying by faster than ever and I can´t even really think of much else that happened... With all the love of dirty hands, Elder Lounsbury

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Winter Didn't Give Up

Yeah remember how last week I said spring had come already? Well, I jixed myself because this week winter decided to come back. So that wasn´t too fun. Someone my companion and I got sick again. Luckily it wasn´t as bad as a couple of weeks ago but it still made for some pretty miserable days. Pretty much someone in every companionship in the zone was sick this week so we suffered a little bit from that. This Sunday we had the priveledge of witnessing the rededication of the temple in Buenos Aires. It was pretty cool to take part in that. There were no regular church meetings so we had to go to the stake center to watch the rededication on the projector and screen over there. Also, on Saturday there was a youth cultural celebration that we also got to watch which was pretty cool. They had a lot of dances from Argentina so it was pretty interesting to see all of those. So far we haven´t had any baptisms this month and this upcoming week has some possibilities but nothing is certain so we´re starting to get kinda worried. We had a meeting with the whole zone on Tuesday to convey to them everything we learned in Consejo from President that went pretty well. There are a couple trouble Elders who have zero respect for others so it´s been good practice of loving everyone equally haha. We had a good meeting with the district leaders on Sunday about how to keep helping the missionaries do everything that President has been taeaching us that also went pretty well so we´re really hoping this week we can get the push that we need to start seeing some baptisms. I think being sick and the whole not having regular church meetings kinda messed us up so hopefully this week will be the bounce back. We´re getting super close to having a couple of baptisms in our area. They are seriously soooo close, they´re just kinda waiting to feel more ready and sure about it. So we´re going to be working with them a lot this week to actually make stuff happen because they´ve kinda been like that for a while now. But they are making gradual progress so we have that to be happy about. All of the days kinda blur together and I can´t even think of other stuff that has happened since last time I wrote. We´re still getting to know a lot of less actives but we got to know a lot more this week so we´re making some progess with that at least. Oh and last P-day we played some good ol´ american football. I don´t know how not playing for almost two years helped me, but I threw some pretty dang impressive touchdown passes if I do say so myself. Apparently not playing for so long taught me how to throw...I thought dad would be proud of that. I´m excited to beat him in some Turkey-ball ;) With all the love of leather, Elder Lounsbury

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The first day of spring

I cannot believe school is starting again, that seriously just blows my mind sockets out of their membrane wall. It´s also just way weird thinking of everyone two grades further than they were when I left. I still think of madeline as a freshman and since when was emma further ahead of me in school? I think the news of everyone going into school over there somehow reached Argentina because this week has been absolutely gorgeous. I walk out of our apartment in the morning and the weather couldn´t get any better. It is seriously incredible. These past two days I think we´ve been in short sleve shirts even at night. Winter just kinda never came and spring is coming early, life is perfect right now. That´s WAY AWESOME you guys invited someone to church!! I am way impressed. Like seriously, way to be bosses. Hopefully they´ll keep coming because now they´re one step closer to eternal happiness!! haha. And who doesn´t want that? On this side of the pond things are going pretty well. We made some progress with an "eternal investigador" when we finally got to talk to him alone but just when we were about to get into the real good stuff some of his family got home and we kinda lost the opportunity to get where we wanted to go but we´re way happy to see what he needs or what he might not understand because sometimes with investigadors like this missionaries think they already understand everything perfectly. We´re also seeing fruits of working with two kids of a member who are slowly gaining testimonies. They came to church last week but unfortunately didn´t make it this week. But, we´re definitely seeing progress with them as well and have hopes they´ll get baptised this month. Other than that this week we had a meeting with all the zone leaders on friday about how to be better leaders and what things we can do in our zone to help the missionaries work more with member references. They gave us a way good talk entitled, "Jesus the Perfect Leader" by President Benson I think and we talked about how love needs to be our main motivation, not our own needs or desires. We have a meeting tomorrow with the whole zone so hopefully we´ll be able to instill in all of the missionaries the importance of working with the plan 5-5-5 and how we can work with the members to plan and contact references. With all the love of a new sun, Elder Lounsbury P.S. I had some of the best food in Argentina on Sunday with our next door neighbors. It was like pork chops from back home with an incredible sauce on top and oh my taste buds, it was to die for.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Let Your Light Shine

They say actions speak louder than words. I´m a pretty firm believer of that. Often in life we´re given chances to teach others--through a talk in church, as a teacher, as a parent or even as a missionary. Even though we often associate teaching with some kind of lecture or explanation, I think our example often gets the message across far better than any amount of words. For example, parents teach their kids about the importance of prayer and reading the scriptures, but there´s nothing quite as powerful as when a child walks in unexpectedly on one of their parents praying or reading the scriptures. Such experience tend to have a much more profound effect. Jesus Christ was a perfect teacher. He used the perfect combination of words and imagery to get his perfect message across to those who had the privilege of listening to his sermons. Yet, the words of his teachings were always supported by his perfect actions. There isn´t one thing that he taught that he didn´t live. He was the perfect example of how to talk the talk and walk the walk. On the sermon on the mount he taught us about how to forgive, "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any" (Mark 11:25). It´s a pretty basic teaching we can all easily agree with, if any one has done us wrong, forgive them. But it takes a new meaning when we read the prayer he offered while upon the cross, after being beaten and spit upon: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). In the same way our actions back up or words, they can also destroy them. Imagine a father that tells his kids not to smoke, as he has a cigarette in between his fingers. It doesn´t matter how well he explains the damage that smoking does and how they will live fuller lives if they avoid it, the smoke coming out of his mouth speaks louder than his words. That is way Jesus often denounced hypocrisy. Paul warned, "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him" (Titus 1:16). It´s pretty simple, some will some will say they believe in God but their actions show that their belief is empty. So the question is, do we profess to know God and show it too? One of my favorite scriputres is one that was recited various times last General Conference: "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity" (1 Timothy 4:12). That´s a lot of "in"s but wow, what a great thing to strive for. Often our example is compared to light, the EFY theme for last year was "Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations" (Doctrine and Covenants 115:5). And last but definitely not least, the Master said it best, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good words, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:14-16). What an incredible teacher. Let´s let our light shine! With all the love of light, Elder Lounsbury

Monday, August 20, 2012

Welp, I don´t have a cool little email this week because I´ve been sick since Wednesday and my studies kinda went down the drain because I was just feeling terrible. But, the good news is we were still able to get a lot of work done and things are improving in both our area and in the zone. So all and all I can´t say it´s been a bad week because I´m finally working again how I´ve wanted and we´re seeing a lot of progress. My new companion is Elder Drennen from California, and so far things are going great. Basically all of our investigadors right now are part member families but the missionaries have kinda been afraid to teach them a lot (I don´t really know why) so we´re kinda starting from the ground up on a lot of them but it´s great seeing progress. A lot of hearts are being softened and we´re seeing a lot of miracles with dads who before didn´t accept us and now are way chill and nice so we´re really greateful for that. There still is a TON of work to do with both of our branches so we´re staying plenty busy. Like I´ve said before one of them is pretty close to qualifying as a ward so we´re trying to do all that we can to get the priesthood we need to make it a ward. Anddd the other branch is REALLY suffering. I don´t know if I´ve said it before but there´s like 700 members on the member lists and about 15 go every week. Hopefully we´ll be able to start making some progress with that branch as well but it´s just more appeasing to work in the area of the other branch a lot more because we´ve got boss members families to work with etc and it just seems like our efforts go further there but someone´s gotta start taking a big iniciative with the other one or it´s never going to improve much. The great news is that one of our branch presidents specifically asked us to play soccer with the young men that play every wednesday because there´s a lot of non members and inactive members that go. He wants us to play to see if we can make any progress with them. Pretty much I´ve been waiting my entire mission for someone to tell me that so I´m stoked out of my mind to start balling it up. In other news, Alex (our baptism last week) got the priesthood on Sunday so that was way cool. Other than that things are pretty chill, there´s not a whole lot more I can think of to tell you all... We have a way sick family home evening planned with a member family and a part member family tonight so hopefully next week I can send you some pictures of that. Oh, and i´ll send you some pictures of when we went to Cerro Arco a couple weeks ago, With all the love of a really long hike, Elder Lounsbury

Monday, August 13, 2012


sorry, i forgot these....we baptized this weekend! we baptized the two kids, Alex and Karla (I baptized Karla) the mom is already a member and has been since she was a little kid, all of the kids but the smallest one were actually born in the states when they used to live there. they moved here about 3 years ago because he wasn´t legal and they wanted to do things right. pretty much all of the mom´s family still lives in Utah and yeah! that´s the story haha. I want to start working with the dad but I´ve been told he´s a little relucant to get baptized because his dad is pretty catholic (and lives way close) and he doesn´t want any problems. But he is such a nice guy. really really great. Hopefully we can start helping him get a testimony. We´re also working with two other girls who are also the kids of a member. one of them acepted a baptismal date for next month and the other one has been to chruch like 5 times. unfortunately they didn´t make it to chruch so hopefully we can get them there next week. Other than that we´re kinda struggling with the whole teaching people thing....haha but this week is going to get better. Love you!!!!

Impossible is Nothing

"Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they´ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it." Adidas was really on to something when they came up with that advertising campaign. However, Jesus taught us the same concept some 2000 years ago, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed...nothing shall be impossible unto you" (Matthew 17:20). Nothing shall be impossible unto you. And again, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark 9:23). All things are possible. That´s a pretty incredible promise! Paul in his epistle to the Philippians reiterates Jesus´teaching, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13). I can do all things. Now the qualifiers: only "If ye have faith" or "if thou canst believe" and only "through Christ" is this promise fulfilled. Jesus teaches again, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me...the same bringeth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5). Without me ye can do nothing. Obviously a branch can´t do anything without a central vine to receive nutrients etc; that´s exactly how our relationship is with Christ. He further explains, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you" (John 15:7). Ask what ye will. Do we understand how enabling the gospel of Jesus Christ is? With it "impossible is just a big word." Ammon explained this concept perfectly, "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; but in [God´s] strength I can do all things" (Alma 26:12). There it is again, all things. After witnessing various miracles through Ammon´s faithful service, Lamoni convincingly declares, "I know, in the strength of the Lord thou canst do all things" (Alma 20:4). Oop, and again--all things. From Samson who was given strength from his youth for obeying God´s command to never shave his head to captain Moroni and the 2000 stripling warriors who were strengthened and preserved for relying on God, the scriptures are not short of stories where the seemingly impossible is made reality. "Yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him." (Helaman 12:1). But let us be aware that only through God are we given such strength. Often those who are blessed to witness such miracles soon forget the qualifiers they met that made the miracles possible and start relying in their own strength and wisdom. "Yea, and we may see that at the very time when he doth prosper his people...that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God" (Helaman 12:2). The consequence of this is fit, because of "bosting in their own strength, they were left to their own strength: therefore they did not prosper" (Helaman 4:13). I love the promise found in Ether, "my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them" (Ether 12:27). It´s like a formula of how to strengthen our lacks and reach the impossible. This gospel is so empowering! With all the love of a big word, Elder Lounsbury

Monday, August 6, 2012

Viva la Vida

If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. It´s a fairly simple saying and we´ve all heard it before but how exactly do we turn lemons into lemonade? How do we take the "sour" experiences of life and turn them into something good? And once we do that and have our lemonade are we drinking it too? Making Lemonade Sometimes life gives us a sour batch of lemons. But as we understand why we get lemons, we can turn them into lemonade. Lehi explains why sometimes life isn´t always the easiest thing, "For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so...righteousness could not be brought to pass...neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad" (2 Nephi 2:11). Later he explains that if we never have opposition we would live "having no joy, for [we know] no misery; doing no good, for [we know] no sin" (2 Nephi 2:23). Without knowing misery, we can´t have any joy. Without the sour we can´t have the sweet. Although it´s easier to understand this concept than to live it, it´ll help us turn those lemons into lemonade. Although lemons are a part of life, they don´t need to last forever. We can turn lemons into lemonade by understanding the nature of our hard times. Jesus explained to his disciples, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament...and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy" (John 16:20). Isn´t that great? Even though sorrows will come we can look forward to when they´ll be turned into lemonade--err, joy. Then he gives us an example, "A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world" (John 16:21). And finally these words of comfort, "And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you" (John 16:22). Alma after his life changing experience comments, "and oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain" (Alma 36:20). Drinking Lemonade Whether life gives us lemonade or we make it ourselves, if we´re not drinking it we´re not getting everything out of life. Often we might dwell on how great our lemonade used to be or how great our lemonade will be some day and we don´t realize how great our lemonade is now. Being grateful for the now is how we have our lemonade and drink it too. For the Strength of the Youth says, "Live with a spirit of thanksgiving and you will have greater happiness and satisfaction in life." How great is that? I don´t think it could get much clearer than that. Gratefulness = happiness and satisfaction. What a great little formula! By being grateful we give value to the present tense. Whether we´re getting hit in the face with sour lemons or someone´s serving us cold lemonade, by being grateful we enjoy life more fully. "If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving. If thou art sorrowful, call on the Lord thy God with supplication, that your souls may be joyful" (D&C 136:28-29). Too many times we take for granted what we have or we don´t realize what we have until we don´t have it anymore. James notes, "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away" (James 4:14). Jacob makes a similiar observation, "the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream" (Jacob 7:26). We don´t know how long life will be giving us lemons or lemonade, so let´s squeeze out all of the flavor while we can! With all the love of a sour lemon, Elder Lounsbury

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Trials of our Faith

There are thousands of examples and stories in the scriptures of faith. Often God tests our faith to see how much we love him and how willing we are to show that we really believe he knows best. We know that we´re here on earth to be tested and lately I´ve been thinking about how often we´re given chances to pass those tests. There are different types of test but with every test we pass--no matter how small--our faith grows. I think the trials of our faith always test weather or not we´re obedient to the commandments of God but they can come from different circumstances. Often our faith is tested and we "pass" only with the help of others. This is usually the case when kids in the church are small and largely depend on their parents´ testimony as the motivation to keep the commandments. I doubt I would have gone to church very much as a kid if my parents wouldn´t have helped. Often with those who are just starting to investigate the church have similar circumstances. The missionaries need to constantly remind them to pray and read and often have to call to wake them up on Sunday morning. When our faith is just starting to bud it´ll start to bloom as we pass these "group tests"--because we have the help of others to pass. These are the easiest kinds of tests but they´re necessary to build the kind of faith we need to pass the other tests we´ll face. Naaman was a leper. He sought to be healed by a prophet of God (2 Kings 5:1-9). The prophet told him, "Go and awash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean." However, "Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage. And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean? Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean" (2 Kings 5:10-14). Naaman probably wouldn´t have passed the test if his servants wouldn´t have helped him. However, because of their help he passed, and his faith grew "now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel" (2 Kings 5:15). On another note, it´s interesting how the simplicity of the commandment became a trial of his faith in itself. He didn´t understand why the prophet would send him to a river instead of "call[ing] on the name of the Lord his God, and strik[ing] his hand" to cover the leper. And on top of that he didn´t understand why the prophet wouldn´t send him to a better river, "Are not Abana and Pharpar...better than all the waters of Israel". I think often we have similar doubts, often we don´t understand a commandment or even think the counsel of the Lord should be something different. Luckily Naaman had his friends to help him out, but maybe for us it won´t always be that way. "Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works" (Jacob 4:10). Often our faith is tested and we don´t have the help of others. Abraham had probably one of the hardest tests of his faith when the Lord asked him to sacrifice his only son. The story takes a new light if we consider the fact that Abraham was almost sacrificed as a kid by his father and by wicked priests who "had turned from their righteousness" (Abraham 1:5-7) and that the son he was about to sacrifice came after he and his wife thought they couldn´t have any more kids. Abraham nonetheless, obeyed and had raised his hand when an angel came and stopped him (Genesis 22:9-11). But, for his faith and for passing the test he recieved the promise that "I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice" (Genesis 22:17-18). Often our faith is tested when not only we don´t have any help, but when those are around us are against us choosing the right. To me these are probably the hardest tests of our faith, but if we pass them our faith will grow and we will be blessed maybe even more than when we pass the other tests. Nephi experienced this opposition after partaking of the fruit of the tree of life. "And great was the multitude that did enter into that strange building. And after they did enter into that building they did point the finger of scorn at me and those that were partaking of the fruit also; but we heeded them not" (1 Nephi 8:33). I love that phrase so much. Do we love God more than we love fitting in? Unfortunately, people often fail these tests. In the story of the tree of life Nephi´s father notes that, "as many as heeded them, had fallen away" (1 Nephi 8:34). The wicked king Noah was about to release Abinadi "for he feared his word; for he feared that the judgments of God would come upon him. But the priests lifted up their voices..." and the king, in spite of his better judgment, "delivered him up that he might be slain" (Mosiah 17:11-12). I hope we´ll always be like Nephi and not give heed to those who oppose us, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ" (Romans 1:16). With all the love of a passed test, Elder Lounsbury

Monday, July 23, 2012

Faith and Fear

As the bus left the terminal in San Rafael and started winding it´s way to Mendoza a million things ran through my head. Like any area, I was a bit sad to leave behind all of the members and investigators I had enjoyed getting to know. Questions of how my new area and companion would be interrupted my thought pattern and finally I began evaluating my transfers in El Cerrito. I thought about when I first got there and how my companion told me that "the people don´t want to listen to us." I thought about training my new companion and his attitute of "we´re going to teach everyone." And finally I thought about the diference in success that I had in those transfers, and what made the difference. Was it the people? I don´t think so... What we taught? No... Then what? I started asking myself, "in what way does our perspective (aka our faith or doubt) affect our reality?". I think often what we hope is going to happen, or what we fear is going to happen, will happen. In Alma 57 we find the story of the 2000 stripling warriors, kids my age or less who were about to fight a bunch of giantly manly men to perserve their liberty and freedom. They were taught by their moms that if they had faith in God and didn´t doubt, then God would perserve and protect them. That´s a really interesting promise for me. If they trusted in God, he would protect them--so what they believed would happen, would happen--but if they started to doubt, if they started to think "maybe God won´t protect me" then they didn´t have the promise, and maybe one of them would have died. But, they kept their faith and were perserved by God--not one of them died. Their faith brought about what they had hoped for. I remember one time dad told me a story about a group of people that feared the government. I have no idea if they story is true or not but It goes something like this: the people though they government was going to take away their freedom, so because of their fear they went and bought a large amount of illegal weapons. So even though the government really didn´t care about them before, once they found out a group of people was buying illegal weapons they starting caring a little more. And in they end they "took away their freedom" (aka they went to jail for owning those weapons) and basically everything this group of people fear was going to happen--happened. In Matthew 14:25-31 we find the story of when Jesus walks on water. At first his disciples are afraid but Jesus tells them, "Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid." Then Peter gets a little courageous and says, "Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water." I think he just wanted to try walking on water as well haha. Jesus tells him to come and then "when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus." Woah! I mean we can believe that Jesus walked on water because he was the Son of God, but Peter? An ordinary man? What faith, no? But, the winds were strong and "he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, say, Lord, save me." In the moment he began to fear in the very moment he began to doubt, he began to sink. His fear brought about the very thing he fear. Verse 31 states, "And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and unto him, O though of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" It´s not always easy to have a positive perspective or to always have the greatest faith. We all have our own "strong winds". We all have our own trials and we all begin to doubt or fear at least a little bit. But it´s comforting for me to know that the Savior will always be there to "stretch forth his hand" and catch us. A father once went to Jesus so that he healed his son who had a "foul spirit". Jesus tells the father, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth" (that´s a pretty awesome promise by the way) to which the father cries out, "I believe". If any of you have seen the movie How To Find Faith In Christ when the father says that Jesus kinds gives him a look as if asking, "Are you sure?" and then the father responds, "help thou mine unbelief." Even though this man might not have had the sufficient faith, at least he recognized he could call upon divinity to help him. Frequently we talk with people who are trying to gain a testimony about the Book of Mormon or about the church in general and if have to help them get to this point. We have to help them muster up enough faith to at least believe that God can help them gain the faith they need. James states, "If any of lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." (James 1:5-6). We find a similar promise in the Book of Mormon. If we ask in doubt, or if we ask without the intention to follow the answer we receive, we don´t have the promise, and it´s probable our doubts are going to bring about what we doubted. If we don´t think we´ll recieve an answer, we won´t, and if we believe we´ll recieve an answer, we will. It´s actually all pretty simple. I think the difference in the success we had in El Cerrito basically all stemmed from this idea. In my first transfer I think it would safe to say my mentality was something like, "God could do it, but I don´t think he will." Sometimes we think like that don´t we? "God could work a miracle with my friend, but I kinda doubt it´ll happen." Of course if we think like that we´re not going to see his blessing in our lives, our faith doesn´t deserve it. But, "Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall power to do whatsoever thing..." (Moroni 7:33). With all the love of a little hill, Elder Lounsbury

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Why (only) give in December?

The other day I bought a delicious sleeve of Quaker oatmeal cookies (the apple and honey kind). Zone Conference had lasted almost the entire day and when we left I had to think twice if we had actually ever eaten. I carefully examined the third one as if asking, "how is it possible that cookies can be so good?" when out of the corner of my eye I saw an old hiking backpack--the kind with metal poles as supports--on the corner of an entrance to a bank. In the split second that I had to think before looking up the thought crossed my mind, "poor guy, that´s probably all he owns". Then I looked up and saw the backpack´s owner, and without a moments hesitance I heard, "do you have two pesos?" What had before been pity somehow turned to annoyance and I casually told him I had nothing and kept walking. As we stepped into the intersection I heard him say something like, "oh come on, you have food!" I realized in the middle of the street what an awful mistake I had just made. We waited on the other corner for the lights to change and I embarrassingly walked back to face him. I gave him the sleeve of cookies and apologized and made my way back across the intersection to wait for the bus. I started asking myself, why was my first reaction to just ignore him? What would have happened if he wouldn´t have said anything back? How can I call myself a representative of Jesus Christ? I know you all might think I´m a terrible person now haha, but I think we often find ourselves in similar situations. These are my thoughts: Why give? Mosiah states it pretty clearly, "And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the begger putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish" (Mosiah 4:16). I don´t think it gets much more clear than that. It´s actually necessary if we wish to retain a remission of our sins, "For the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God--I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor...both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants" (Mosiah 4:26). Johns says, "But whoso hath this world´s goods, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth" (1 John 3:17-18). My thoughts were practically the same. Do we profess to be followers of Jesus Christ in word, or do our deeds reflect our faith? The folly of judging Matthew says, "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again"(Matthew 7:1-2). Mosiah talks about it specifically about how we judge those who are less fortunate than us, "Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just-- But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth his the same hath great cause to repent..." (Mosiah 4:17-18). I think sometimes the idea given by Mosiah of "the man has brough upon himself his misery" can also be something like "the man will bring upon himself more misery if I give him what I have." Both of the judgements are pretty similar. I´ve asked myself, "why are we willing to give to a white-bearded man outside of Walmart at the sound of a bell while hesitant to help an untrimmed man under a bridge or sitting at a street corner?" I think our judgements are the only reason we would give in one situation and hold back what we have in the other. Mosiah makes a great point, "For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have?" (Mosiah 4:19). Give of your love That is what Christ´s whole message is, is it not? Like Mosiah says, we do this by administering to their temporal AND spiritual needs. I´m running out of time but I think we all can think of ways to better give of our love. Paul asks, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" (Romans 8:35). Let´s give our love to those around us lest we become the broken link in helping someone else feel the love of Christ. With all the love of a sleeve of cookies, Elder Lounsbury

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Freedom Week

Hey family, this week was pretty crazy. I hope you all had a great fourth of July! We started off the day in style with some pretty great Freedom Toast, hash browns and orange juice. We had some great plans to make burgers with BBQ and fries but they had to get postponed until the next day because of some emergence exchanges we had to do soooo it wasn´t the perfect fourth of july but we spent it in the cause of justice so I figured it couldn´t have been too much more American. On the 5th we made our BBQ burgers and pretty much failed at making a fire and cooking them over a grill so we ate some pretty raw meat hahah. But we learned how to do better next time and that´s all the matters. And to finish it all off on the 7th we made banana splits that were absolutely wonderful. Other than that things have been pretty calm this week. We´ve been working with Agustin´s mom and dad (the dad is less active and the mom isn´t a member) and they both came to church this week so that´s been pretty great. They need to get married so she can´t get baptized quite yet but I´m sure it´ll happen in the future so that´s wonderful. There´s nothing quite like seeing a whole family sitting there on the pews that weren´t there before you started working with them. Teodora couldn´t come to church again because she was doing something with her granddaughter who is visiting her for a while from Africa, so we´re a little bummed about that but she already passed her baptismal interview and now pretty much just needs to go to church again. We committed her to going next week but I´m afraid she´s going to be something with her granddaughter again. She´s mentioned a couple times, "I´ll go again when my granddaughter leaves" which kinda makes me nervous because I don´t think that´s going to be anytime soon. The other two people we were working with who had baptismal dates for this week left....One of them comes back from Buenos Aires today so we can start working with her again but the other one left to a southern city and I think it´s pretty much for that´s kinda annoying. The good news is we´re still working with a couple of people that know members and we´re still waiting to teach another one who we haven´t met yet. The slight problem that we have is that this one family who is just sharing like the gospel like bosses with all their friends lives kinda far we have to bug the members and get them to take us there and it doesn´t always work out like we want. But, we´re getting along anyways. One of the girls from this family we´re teaching that just lives out in the middle of nowhere was committed to going to church on Saturday night. We had to call like everyone in the ward who has a car to figure out how we were going to get her there because there aren´t any busses on Sunday. Anddd after calling people for like maybe more than half an hour, we get a text in the morning that says her parents wouldn´t let her go. So that was also kind of a bummer but we´re going to start working more with getting the parents a testimony because as of now they´ve been listening and everything but I don´t think they´ve felt it as much as she has. Welp, other than that, everythings been pretty normal over here. I´m kinda getting ready to go to a new area, so hopefully in one week I´ll be telling you guys where I´m going. I hope you all have another great week! With all the love of a banana split, Elder Lounsbury

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July Brings Winter

Hello earthlings!! This week was pretty delicious! We´ve been teaching mostly the same people that we were teaching last week, so almost all of the lessons we taught this week were with members, which is really helping the investigators progress. We were a little disappointed because one of our investigators that had a baptismal date for this Saturday is going to Buenos Aires for like a that baptism fell through for right now. We also have an investigator who might be moving back to another city in Argentina this week (as of now she has a tentative baptismal date for this Saturday) so....we´re going to see how that goes as well. Andddd the last baptism we had scheduled for this week couldn´t make it to church this week because she had family over, so unless the bishop makes an exception we´re probably have to move it to the 14. We were a little disappointed that out of the three baptisms we could have had this week none are looking very certain, but we should at least have one before I leave this area. We were also hoping that one of the families we are teaching would come to church this week but they don´t really feel comfortable yet and they said that for now they´re working on building a house for someone in their family in the morning on Sunday, so we´re hoping to go by this week on Saturday to help them out so that they can go next week. They´re progressing pretty well but it´s hard to teach to all of their needs because some of them understand a lot faster than others. But I have high hopes they´ll get baptized in the future. The great news this week is that we found two other small families to teach. Both of them are related to one of the recent converts in our area. Before apparently one of the family members wasn´t too friendly with the missionaries but now there doesn´t seem to be a problem so we´re excited to be finding people even though we´re teaching a pretty decent amount of people. I think if we teach them with a member this week and have that member pick them up Sunday morning that we can get those two families to church pretty easily so that´ll be great. Even though I´m probably leaving the area in two more weeks it´s cool to see how better off the area is than when I first got here and to know that we´ve found a couple people who are going to get baptized in the future. Other than that, it snowed this morning! It kinda came out of nowhere, yesterday I was walking around with a short sleeve shirt and today it´s back to coats and scarfs. But even then it´s not very cold. Oh yeah, and our shower still isn´t fixed (it´s been like 2 weeks since only cold water comes out) so I think I´ll be welcoming transfers because warm-water-bucket showers some days and straight up cold showers other days are not my favorite things to do in winter. But it´s all for the experience right? Well family, I hope you all have a fantastic week, With all the love of a cold shower, Elder Lounsbury

Monday, June 25, 2012

Busy Bumble Bee

Dear family, This week was absolutely fantastic. I don´t think I´ve ever seen so much success on my mission. There have been some days where we have literally had to run from teaching appointment to teaching appointment because we have so many people to teach. It has been great. We´re teaching a ton of people that we´ve found through the members. I don´t you if you all remember that 5-5-5 plan that I told you about a awhile ago but we´ve found like six people through getting references from those families. We´ve actually only been working closely with two of the families and we´ve found that many people to teach regularly in the week so I can´t even imagine how it would be if we worked that way with all of the families. We´re teaching two old ladies that are friends of one of the families and they both came to church this week so we´re super excited. They both have a baptismal date for the 7th of July so they just need to come to church next week and they´re set. They´re great though. We´re also teaching two other people from another family that lives way out in the boonies. They live super far so we´ve been trying to get out there as much as possible by asking the members to take us but sometimes I feel like we´re asking a lot. We´re seeing a lot of success though so we have to do it. One of those people we´re teaching also came to church this week and also has a baptismal date for the 7th so hopefully if everything works out smooth we´ll have 3 baptisms that day. That family knows another family (of 5) that we´re working with who lives even more way out in the boonies. The other day we didn´t have any one to take us from the family that lives kind of out in the boonies to the family that lives way out in the boonies so we basically ran/jogged/walked three miles to get there as soon as possible because we were already late. It was pitch dark because we were way out in the country and the wind was blowing like we were in some kinda scary movie and it just felt like a boss. It was great. Basically, we´re having a blast and teaching lots of people. Hmmm, other than that there´s not a ton of new stuff going on... Welp, with all the love of a honey bee, Elder Lounsbury

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Path Paver

Hey y´all! This week was pretty great. News #1 is that Agustín got baptized! It was super great seeing him finally taking that decision. I think missionaries have been working with him since he was 8 and like 6 years later he´s finally made the decision to get baptized. I honestly think his little sister helped him out a lot. She kinda took a braver inicitive and didn´t have a problem going to church and accepting a baptismal date before him etc, which I think made it easier for him. She kinda paved the path and made it easier for him to follow. I think we all rely on path pavers in our life but also at certain points when the crowds follow the world´s path we gotta make our own, and maybe we´ll make it easier for someone else to follows us heading in the right direction. Do you pave the right paths for others to follow? This week we´ve had a lot of sucess working with the members. We´re really seeing this 5-5-5 plan finally working. I think we had 10 lessons with member both this week and last week which is pretty high with what we´re used to. We have a decent amount of investigadors that are progressing and all of them have close friends or family who are members so we have really high hopes that they´re going to progress well. By the end of this transfer in like 4 weeks we could possibly have 3 or 4 more baptisms, so we´re really working hard to help all of the people we have progress even more. In the last two weeks we´ve had some pretty cool experiences with the spirit. It´s almost as if we have our own super tiny pride cycle. We start having a lot of success and then we might start praying a little less fervently or become a little more slack and then we realize our teaching has gone down the drain. This past week we´ve gotten a lot better and haven´t really seen that as much but it´s just so interesting how small things can make such a big difference in the amount of the spirit we have. And it´s so vital to have the spirit when we teach, if we don´t then we´re left to our own abilities and basically nothing good comes from that haha. It´s the first time in my mission I´ve really seen differing levels of the spirit and I think it´s something good to notice in our own lifes. Even the most basic tiny things we do will either help us feel the spirit a little bit more in our lives or they´ll make us lose just a little bit. Maybe in the moment we won´t feel a difference (although with some decisions we can) but over the long run it´ll make a difference in where we end up. In which direction are you going? The journey of a 1000 miles starts with one step, so watch your step. (I think I stole that from Elder Holland but it´s pretty good haha) Also, this week I had the opportunity to read the new for the strengh of the youth pamplet and I am absolute in love with it. It is SO golden. It´s like a Preach My Gospel but for life. If you do everything in that pamphlet you are going to be such a solid person. I think one of my favorite parts was under service. It said something like "pray daily to be guided to someone you can give a helping hand." Can you imagine if we all lived that way? That manual is so inspired. It is like the key to unlock un ending happiness is right in front of our noses. Well family, I believe that´s all I got for now. I hope you all have a spectacular week. With all the love of a freshly paved path, Elder Lounsbury

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


So the great news this week is that Valentina got baptized! Her whole family came to chruch (her inactive dad and non-member mom) so that was also pretty great. Also, her brother is getting baptized this Saturday so we're super excited. We're hoping this week we can start working a lot more with the family. They looked so great in church. We just gotta get them going like a family like that every week. Saturday was actually pretty hectic. There was a Primary activity in the morning that we tried bringing a couple of investigators too but we got there late to meet with the ward secretary who had the keys to look at the baptismal clothes and start filling up the font. It wouldn't have been too bad if that was the only thing but we found out there were no clothes for little girls and that the water didn't work in the church. So basically we were just missing the two most important things besides the actual person getting baptized. haha. We ended up getting ahold of a guy who came to fix the water and had to take a taxi over to a member's house from another ward who had some clothes we borrowed from her. Anyways, after all the chaos it turned out pretty well. There's weren't a lot of other members there (only the bishop, the primary president and her family) and I have a suspicion that it was because Brasil and Argentina were playing... haha. (Of course Argentina won, I'll have to talk a bit of trash to Elder Plant haha) The only slightly bad news is that one of our investigators didn't come to church so unless we stretch the two-church-attendance standard we won't be able to baptize next week. But we're still working with a couple people so hopefully we can have at least one more before the transfer is over and I bounce out of this area. So far things in my district are going alright. Neither one of the companionships had a very good week but they both had like half weeks because of transfers so it's understandable. I'm probably going to have to do exchanges next week so that'll be interesting. Mostly I'm thinking I just gotta get them excited and get them a couple of solid investigators because since they're washing an area they're pretty much starting from zero. We played soccer today and so I got to know them a little bit which was good. It's going to be interesting balancing getting everything done in our area so that everything goes smoothly with Agustin's baptism and at the same time work a little bit in another area to help them get started. I love seeing English translations here. Today we went to a restaurant and there was some pretty ridiculous stuff on there. I feel like they just typed it in google translate. For different sized drinks in spanish they had Chico, Mediano, Grande meaning Small Medium and Large. But the translation for "chico" was "boy" because in a different context that's also what it means...haha. So basically they had "boy" listed on their menu. Tasty. Another kinda funny one was this alcoholic drink called "Black Jack" and the translation for it (you think they'd know that was already in English) was "Jack Black" haha. Wonder if he knows he's up for sale in Argentina. Pretty cheap too. Welp family, that's about all I got for now. With all the love of Jack Black, Elder Lounsbury

Monday, June 4, 2012

French toast! BBQ sauce!

Well family, how are you all doing? Things over here and going just splendidly. We had to go to Mendoza on Tuesday and didn´t get back til Wednesday night so this week wasn´t spectacular but we did what we needed to because Agustin and Valentina came to church! We finally got Agustin to come to mutual with us, and I think it helped him feel a lot more comfortable with going to church because he already knew people there. We´ve got Valentina´s baptism lined up for this Saturday but Agustin has only been to church one time so we´re going to have his baptism next Saturday. We just gotta make sure he comes to church this Sunday and we´ll be set. He already has all of the lessons and a testimony so that´s pretty cool. We´re going to have a Family Home Evening with their family (their dad is less active and their mom isn´t a member) so we´re hoping to use the baptisms of the kids as a way to help the dad come back and also to get the mom more interested. The spirit is always super strong at baptisms so it´ll be super important that we get them there for that. We´re also making some progress with the husband of a long time member. He´s gone from like 20 to just 6 cigarettes and he´s reading the book of mormon seriously for the first time in his life. We still gotta help him stop smoking completely, go to church, and recognize he´s gotten an answer but his wife got up in testimony meeting and said that we were making progress with him with things he´s never done before in his life so that´s helped us a lot. Even though he still has some big changes to make he´s slowly been making small ones. Slow progression is better than no progression. He´s got a baptismal date for the 30th of this month so we´ve really gotta start getting him to make those changes fast. Especially with church so he can go twice before his baptismal date. Other than that this week has been pretty normal. It´s was a transfer week, so there´s been a few changes in the zone but we knew I was staying with my comp because the training program is two transfers long. The only changes that really affect us are that we´ll be getting someone new in our apartment and that my district is now going to have two more missionaries. It´s going to be a little interesting because one of the new missionaries is a little notorious for....I don´t know if I would say causing problems, but maybe something like "hard to handle". So...I guess that´s going to be a growing opportunity for me...haha. Welp, the last somewhat exciting thing I can think of is that on Sunday for lunch we made french toast and ate it with peanut butter and syrup and my taste buds about exploded. It was like uniting with a friend you haven´t seen in a long time and having it be better than what you expected because at first you wondered if it would be awkward. Kinda like that but super better. And we put the Bullseye BBQ sauce to work again with some steak we cooked this afternoon. It was a pretty similar experience to that long lost friend thing. So good. I think that´s about it for now folks, With all the love of BBQ sauce, Elder Lounsbury

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fajitas and Locro

Alright family, well this week has been pretty dang good. Nothing giant as happened, things are staying pretty quiet but I´ve been enjoying it. The mission is about to make a few changes that are going to be super awesome. I love how inspired our church is haha. They´re about to start making a lot of changes so the stakes and wards are more integrated into the zones and areas of the mission. For example, the baptismal goals we put as missionaries are going to come from colaboration with the bishop, not just us deciding on what they´ll be. Also, our mission president is going to have a meeting with the zone leaders and the stake leaders to coordinate all of our efforts better. There´s a big emphasis on activating families and getting them to the temple, it´s like the key on having the church grow instead of just increase in members. There´s also an emphasis in having all of our investigadores meet members in their homes so they can see how an LDS family lives and how we´re different. At the same time it´ll help the members grow their faith and participate more in missionary work. It´s basically taking what for a long time has pretty much been two seperate works (the responsibility the stake has with members and missionary work) and combining them into one. I´m super excited to see how these changes are going to help, I think it´s going to make a giant difference. I also have recently gained a testimony of companionship inventory haha. Companionship inventory is where we take a couple minutes to talk about if we´re having problems with our companionship and how we can improve things. I have never really done it very often in my mission but we had one today and things were way better after. Things weren´t awful but little things start getting to people after spending every minute of 6 weeks together. I think part of the reason it helps is because when you start telling them the little things that bug you you start seeing how dumb they are haha. In other news, I made some boss fajitas this week. I still had left over fajita seasoning that you guys had sent me like a year ago (but really no joke, I think it was about that long ago) and somehow some of the missionaries found this place where you can buy some pretty hot peppers so I went out on a limb and experimented sticking one of those in the mix and wow, I felt like I was eating in Mexico. I even had some taco bell seasoning (which made me feel a little less in Mexico and a little more in the states) but it was a pretty great mix. Also, this Friday was Revolution´s Day here and it´s a tradition to make this chili-like soup stuff. It´s not very hot at all but it´s kinda the same idea. So our ward had an activity and we were inviting everyone to it this week. A couple less active members went so that was great, but overall it was also great just to see the ward being a little more united. I think we´re starting to make some progress. We´ve talked to people with beliefs of every kind this week. We talked to a super catholic (it´s not unnormal to talk to catholics but usually they just say their catholic and they don´t actually know what the church believes, but this lady knew her stuff), we talked to a super evangelista (which is also pretty normal) but we also talked to this guy who believed in this guy named John the Baptist "Pistolera". Pistolera I think can be translated to something like a gun holster, but basically this guy was a criminal who had killed people and supposedly raised his friend from the dead. He believed that by praying to this guy (I kind of imagine an old western fast-shooter) he started having success in life and now he owns like four apartments. It was super strange and mildly amusing. You don´t come around those kind of people every day, that´s for sure... Last but certainly not least, we only had minimal success with our investigadors. We had three of them committed to chruch but in the end one of them got back early in the morning from hanging out with friends and the other didn´t want to go because he didn´t have the right clothes. When we asked his sister if we could talk to him she said her mom didn´t want to wake him up, so that was kind of a bummer but we had one girl named Valentina who has been twice so she looks like she´s progressing pretty well. She´s the granddaughter of a super strong member so that helps a lot but this week we´re going to try to have a family home evening with her dad and mom to try to get him re activated and her baptized. Welp, thanks for all of the updates! With all the love a red hot chili peper, Elder Lounsbury

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The day the water died

Well this week has been pretty normal. Last Monday I found some bull´s eye BBQ sauce in one of the supermarkets here and just about screamed like a school girl. On thursday we didn´t have lunch (because we plan that day and it´s more convenient that way so we don´t have to leave and come back) so we made and cooked up some burger patties that were absolutely incredible. I have no idea if it´s because I haven´t had real BBQ sauce in such a long time or what, but these things were like some kinda taste-bud drug. I had even bought some tobacco sauce that I used to saute the onions with and it was just spectacular. Man, that definitely was a highlight of my week. In other news, our water is working pretty terribly.... On Sunday morning we woke up and there just wasn´t any water.... Luckily we had two 5 gallon liter jugs filled with water that one of the Elders here uses to do exercise so i was able to wash my hair and shave. That was a pretty odd experience. Then for some reason this morning in the shower there was only a tiny stream of cold water that would come out, even though in all of the sinks a lot of cold water would come out. So either we had to shower in boiling water or turn on just a tiny bit of hot water to go with the tiny bit of cold water to get a decent temperature. I had to use some pretty strategical aerobic positions to rinse off because this tiny stream of water was like an inch away from the wall haha. I hope our shower stops being bipolar before winter comes and all the air inside of the house feels like ice. With our investigators we had an alright week. We brought the youth leader to meet with Agustín and explain to him what mutual is and invite him to church so we were feeling pretty confident but when we went to look for him in the morning his grandparents said he was sick in bed. So that was a bit of a disappointment. The good part is that his little sister went who we started teaching this week and it looked like she fit in pretty well with all the primary girls so that was great. We also were finally able to have ward council which helped us a lot get things more organized for the less active families we want to work with. We might be able to squeeze a baptism in with Agustín´s sister but if not we´re looking pretty good for getting two early next transfer. Besides that things are just going great. I hope you all are doing just as well! With all the love of a lack of water, Elder Lounsbury

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mother's Day

Man, it was so good seeing all of you yesterday. Everyone has changed so much. Caleb and Isaac just keep looking older and older and Enoch is just someone completely different. It was great seeing you all. And Austin! What a surprise! He looks like he´s doing great. I can´t wait to catch up a little more with him and talk more about the mission. I hope you all had a great Mother´s day! I can´t really think of anything super exciting that happened this week. Like I told you all, we´re working with with a kid right now who understands everything well and has already got an answer that what we´ve been sharing with him is true so all that he´s lacking is to go to church a couple times. But we´re getting super close with him. We´re also working with the husband of a long time member and we had a pretty cool lesson right before I talked to you all last night. He has a lot of desires to know if it´s true but as of now he hasn´t been able to really get a direct answer so we´re going to work a lot with him on how to recognize the spirit. We went over Alma 32 with him and helped him recognize that his "seed" has grown since the first time he met the missionaries until now. We´re also the first missionaries that he´s told about his smoking problem so we´re going to start working with him on that so that he can feel the spirit more. One other person that we´re working with is an 8 year old whose mom is a member and whose dad isn´t present so we´re trying to teach her everything she needs to know to get baptized. I say trying because it´s super hard to help her understand things. The other day we were trying to teach her what a prophet is. At first we tried saying the prophet was like a weather man. He can warn us of things we can´t know beforehand for ourselves. If it´s going to be cold he´ll tell us to wear a coat, but it´s up to us if we´re going to follow his advice or not. But, if we don´t listen we´ll most likely get sick. A prophet also can see things beforehand that we can´t and he´ll also tell us what we need to do to be safe but it´s up to us if we´re going to follow him. I thought that was a pretty ingenius way of explaining it but when we went back for the second time we realized she hadn´t learned anything at all. So we tried explaining it like a teacher in school who helps us understand things we´re trying to learn. But she couldn´t even answer simple questions like, "Would we learn anything in school without a teacher?". So we moved to another method. My companion tried relating it to a game. "Let´s pretend the otherside of the room is heaven, and you want to get there. What´s the other side of the room?" "Heaven" "Good. But, you can´t get to the other side because the floor is lava. I´m going to be a prophet. Can you get to the other side of the room by yourself? "Yeah" "No, you can´t because it´s lava, remember?" "Oh yeah, that´s right." "Ok, now, every tile I step on, turns from lava into rocks. So the only way you can get to the other side of the room is by following me. Who am I? "Umm, I don´t know" "I´m a prophet, remember?" "Yeah" "What the other side of the room?" "Ummm, I don´t know." I seriously could not believe it. I felt like there was a hidden camera somewhere and someone hiding behind the curtain that was going to come out and tell us it was all a joke. It was so comical. We tried everything we could think of to try and help her understand. But even simple questions like, "A prophet teaches us. What does a prophet do?" didn´t get a right answer. I have no idea what we´re going to do to help her but I don´t think she understand symbolism at all. haha. I know it might be a bit mean but I seriously felt like I was teaching a brick. I think Noah easily understands the concept better than her. So that´s going to be a little adventure this week. Well family, I hope you all have a fantastic week. With all the love of a dinousaur, Elder Lounsbury

Monday, May 7, 2012

Impulsive spending

Alright, well this week has been pretty busy. Tuesday night I was doing three baptismal interviews for some kids of a recent convert who are getting baptized so that took up a big chunk of our afternoon. Wednesday a little bit after lunch the district leaders took a bus up to Mendoza for a training meeting we had all day Thursday. It was cool seeing everyone again, even though I just saw them last week for the trainers meeting haha. Basically in the last two weeks I´ve spent probably spent 12 hours in a bus traveling from Mendoza to San Rafael. But I´m still loving this training program and I´m learning a ton and becoming a better missionary so I´m loving life. I don´t have a ton of time because we´ve been trying to figure out the Skype situation for next week but I thought I would at least tell you a quick story about something that happened last Monday. We were at one of the major supermarkets here in Argentina and....I found Snickers! I had found them in the same supermarket but it was in Mendoza where things like that are a little more findable. But it was a huge surprise to see them here in San Rafael. I had to take advantage of the possible once in a lifetime opportunity in front of me....and I bought an entire box...hahah. I got a pretty sweet discount on it which I use to justify my somewhat impulsive buy. It came with a total of 48 snickers which have increased the amounts of happiness in my bloodstream this week. Sorry I didn´t have much time to write more but just know that I´m doing great and enjoying myself like crazy. Hope you all are doing great as well! With all the love of a sugar high, Elder Lounsbury

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Talking to Parrots

Well this week has been pretty full of fun and interesting things. On Tuesday I headed off to Mendoza to sleep there for the night because Wednesday all of the trainers had to be ready in the morning for a meeting. It was kinda cool seeing all of the guys I used to live with and catch up with them and how my old area is doing etc. On Wednesday morning I helped some of the office Elders with a couple of the programs I had made when I was there. One of them had glitches and the other one just needed a slight update. So I felt right at home haha. Apparently one of the programs I made for the Financiero is now being used in all of the missions in Argentina, and another one I made is being used in a couple missions as I thought that was pretty legit. It´s kinda ironic because those were some super basic ones I threw together like the day before I left haha. Well, as for my son....Dad guessed right! He´s from Viña del Mar, Chile. Don´t worry, I don´t know where it is either. Apparently it´s not far from Mendoza, just on the other side of the mountains. It´s been a great experience so far, the church has this new training program that we follow in our studies and I absolutely love it. I really wish I had been trained with this thing because it gives us a lot more direction on what to focus on. New missionaries are great because of all the energy they bring so it´s been nice. On friday we were looking for a contact we had taught in the street the week before. Her husband had just left and we thought we heard voices coming from inside the garage. The door was kinda open so we clapped a couple times but no one came out. However, we both swore we could hear voices coming from inside so we said loudly, "¿Hola?". My companion was a little bit closer but from where I was standing I could hardly make out anything they were saying back to us. It sounded like they were talking to us from the inside of there house into the garage because they didn´t want to come out. In my head I was thinking it was the fastest most slurred Spanish I´ve ever heard. My companion responded, "I can´t hear what you´re saying" like two times and we still couldn´t make it out. And then we realized we were talking to a parrot. Hahahah. It was so funny. Welp, that´s about how my week went. Hope yours went splendid as well. With all the love of a tricky parrot, Elder Lounsbury

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Prodigal Ball

Last week on Elder Lounsbury´s Great Adventure a treasured soccer ball had gone missing. I appreciate all of the crossed fingers and toes because I´m proud to say that the Prodigal Ball has returned to his father. Last week after we did internet we walked back over to the church and when turned to walk down the driveway to the house whose backyard was holding my ball hostige, this lady was just leaving her house. She was like, "Chicos, are you looking for a ball?". Oh man, those were the sweetest words my ears have ever heard. Haha. If we had gotten there like a minute later it would have been long gone. God answers prayers. Other great news about this week is....I´m going to be a dad!!! Elder Hibbert is leaving and on Wednesday I´ll be up in Mendoza to see who I´ll be training down here in San Rafael. I´m a tiny bit nervous but I think it´s going to be great and that I´m going to learn a lot. They have a new training/study program that didn´t exist when I was trained so I´m pretty excited to see how that is and learn from it! Any guesses about where my new companion will be from? Well that´s the most excited news from this week. We´ve been trying to work a lot more with the members and it´s slowly starting to work, however even though we had a ton of lessons solidly planned this week a lot of them fell through. In order for things to turn out the way we want them too we´re finding that we need to plan for about doulbe of what we want haha. But maybe that´s the way life always is. Things don´t turn out how you want them even if you thought you planned them out really well, so you gotta plan to do more than what you actually want to happen. We´re still trying to find some solid investigators that we can start introducing members to and that will come to church other than the one´s we have right now that need to get married haha. We have a couple possibilities but we´re still kind of in that process of looking/following up on people we´ve found and trying to teach them more often. It´s starting to get a bit chilly here so the sweaters and gloves and hats are slowly coming out of hibernation and are being moved to their new home somewhere on my person. Winter here is going to be pretty dang freezing so chocolate and cider mix are quick becoming the number one item in our food storage essentials. I bought an extra pair of gloves and another hat today and a new scarf may soon be in the works. Send some bottled sunshine will you? With all the love of a cloudy day, Elder Lounsbury