Saturday, January 28, 2012


Helloooooooooooooo. ¿Cómo están todos? I´m doing just as dandy as a dandelion. This week I got the change to travel to Marlargüe to do splits with the Elders over there. Marlargüe is another big tourist site but it´s a lot bigger than Uspallata where I went last week. It´s actually pretty huge. On Monday at about 2 Elder Ostler and I left on a bus and we got there about 9. It is the furthest area from the mission offices haha. 7 hours is a long time to be in a bus. It makes for a great time to ponder life however. Doing splits with them was way cool, one of the missionaries there only has about 6 months in the mission and I´ve never really gotten to work with very many missionaries who have that much time, I think pretty much all of my companions have had more time than me. Doing splits is great because you don´t know any of the people and it´s super easy to go in and get to them and figure out what they need and try to help them. I really enjoyed myself.

The only great news that I have for our area is that the ward is getting a lot more pressure from the stake (who´s getting a lot more pressure from the area) to have ward counsel and to do this program called 5-5-5. It´s basically a giant push to help inactives get re-activated. A lot of the time families like that also have kids or husbands etc. that aren´t members and so it helps us as missionaries find people too. When I had my first transfer here we got our bishop to have ward counsel but only about two of the auxiliary leaders came and when we tried to talk about 5-5-5 they didn´t really catch the same enthusiasm that we had. So this last ward counsel was a HUGE improvement. Hopefully we can do a lot with that now and show them that it really works and help them get even more excited to do it.

Last week the primary president asked my companion to play the piano for a new song they were practising. I went it, obviously, because he´s my companion and that´s just how it works. Anyway, he was silently practising the fingering to the song because he´d never played it before and we were both just kinda listen to the lesson that the teachers were giving. (P.S. at least in our ward there´s only about 5-7 kids in primary so they have one combined primary instead of different classes for each age group). The teachers were talking about being nice to others and being an example. They had all of this different situations like, "What should you do if you see a classmate sitting alone or looking sad?" etc. and the kids were supposed to answer what they would do to help. It was hilarious because no matter what the situation was, this one kid would enthusiastically answer, "¡Le daría una piña!" or "I´d punch them!" haha. Elder Ostler and I were just cracking up. The teacher was mostly trying to ignore him but she finally confronted him and kindly asked, "Would Nephi punch someone?" to which the kid responded, "No, but Nephi killed a dude!" hahah. I was just dying laughing. At least the kid knows his scriptures stories, right?

Also, last week we played some of the kids in our ward at soccer and they demolished us. It was super weird because we had played them a while back and had won pretty easily. Anyway, we played them again today and triumphantly took game three to go ahead in the series. haha. Our defence was the soccer equivalent of Moroni defending all of his Nephifite cities haha, Which is saying a lot because these are some of the best kids I´ve played against. One of them is seriously the best kid I´ve seen here, he just dances with the ball so beautifully. But we still won.

Welp, I hope you all have a great week with the flood!

With all the love of Noah and his little animal friends,

Elder Lounsbury

Saturday, January 21, 2012


This week absolutely flew by. On Monday we had zone conference and it was soo legit. Man, zone conferences are they best, they super get you pumped up. We talked a lot about serving with all your might, mind and strength. President Avila is making a ton of changes and really trying to get the mission to go in directions it´s never been before. One of the big changes that he´s made is that we now work during the siesta. After lunch we used to go back to the pench and do our language study and then take the hour for dinner that we don´t get in the evening before going back out to work. It mostly is because the siesta is the most unproductive time of the day, the streets are practically empty and most people are sleeping. But, the idea behind it all is that we´re full time, not part time missionaries. The zone leaders came up with a list of ideas that we could do during that time to be productive and President promised us the mission is going to have a lot more success if we work during that time. In the offices we work that time anyways, but we have nice air conditioning so it´s not quite the same haha. Last Sunday, however, we worked we the siesta and even though we didn´t have much success finding or teaching anyone any we were as wet as walruses, we know the Lord is going to see that we´re giving him our everything.

Also, this week I went to a little town about 2 and a half hours away, called Uspallata. Since Elder Ostler is the zone leader, and that area is our zone, he´s supposed to do divisions with them. And since I´m his companion, I got to tag along for a couple days. Uspallata is this super touristy town that is super up in the mountains. It´s about an hour on bus away from Aconcagua, which is the second tallest mountain in the world. A lot of people stay in Uspallata because of that, but there´s also a ton of people who go there and to the surrounding areas just to take a vacation away up in the mountains and chill. There´s a lot of rental houses and it just has that vacation feel. It made me want to go hiking and camping sooo bad.

We met some really cool people over there. On the first day, about 2 minutes after walking out of the pench, this lady comes up to us and tells us that she´s been a member for most of her life, that she´s lived in Uspallata for two years and that she hasn´t gone to church because her husband didn´t really like it, but that now he wants to listen to the missionaries. It was like a huge miracle just given to us out of the nothing. I got to teach him the next day and he just seems so prepared. We focused a lot on the family and he just loved it. They both committed to going to church on Sunday. Ahh man, it´s just so cool to met and teach people like that. The lord is preparing so many people, and sometimes we just need to put forth a little bit of effort (for us we just had to walk down the sidewalk, but obviously usually we´re going to have to put forth a little more effort) and we´ll find people who are looking for exactly what we have.

About a minute later we ran into an inactive lady who invited us over for lunch right there on the spot. And apparently this area hardly ever has lunch with the members because it´s a super small branch. So, I don´t know if we were just super lucky or what, but I was definitely grateful. Oh, did I say all of this happened on the 17th? Coincidence? I think not...

Yesterday our ward tried to put on a talent show. It started two hours late and in the end it only consisted of two acts. The first was the youth trying to sing "Called to Serve" but they barely made it through the first verse because half of them were laughing and they just gave up on the second verse one and ended the song there. I wouldn´t have cared really but there were at least 2 people who were non-members and I´m positive that´s not exactly what they came for. I talked to one of them for about half an hour trying to take his attention away from the fact that he´d been waiting for an hour and half and he seemed pretty interested. It was cool because at first he seemed a little shy but he just needed someone to ask him questions about his life and he opened up a lot. First impressions are so important, I mostly just try to make the people feel comfortable and get to know them. It was cool because there´s no way I could have been so open and carried on a conversation that long in the beginning of my mission, even if the language wasn´t a barrier. Also, Romina, who I´ve told you about before, was apart of the second talent with a couple other girls in the ward. Even if the talent show itself was a bit of a bummer it was great for her because she´s really getting to know the girls in the ward well. We´re really excited for her.

Welp, that´s all I got.

With all the love of a mountain,

Elder Lounsbury

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Lose Yourself

Things lately have been deliciously busy. We had zone conferences all this week which meant I had to do Aguas de Cuyo (even though it seems like I just did those a couple week ago) and I think I´ve told you all about the new retention verifications that we´re doing and all of those are due this week so things here have been quite the locura. Since all of the zone conferences have been in the chapel next door to the offices we´ve also gotten free lunch every day. I think that´s been about the best part of my week. I wish I had more to tell but everything I´ve done is stuff I´ve already told you all about...things around here don´t get too exciting any more. However, a new senior couple just got here about half an hour ago so things this week will for sure be different with the old senior couple training them on what to do and getting ready to leave.

In other news, we ran half a marathon today. I felt like Voldemort was stabbing a wand in my right leg the whole second half of the run and by the end I felt like those weird prison guard soul-suckers were sucking my lungs out of my rib cage, but after some (very expensive) Gadorate things started getting back to normal. The only downside is that we don´t really know where to go from here. I guess we could keep running super long distance but after today I don´t have a ton of desires to do it again... I think we´re going to cut back on the intensity a bit and just start running for consistency. Anyways, that was a pretty cool goal that we set and accomplished.

The good news about this week is that one of our investigators returned from whatever far off mountain they were hiding in and we got to teach them. However, it seems like the rest of them are still living in hut with llamas. Most of them don´t even answer the phone, and one of them is a recent convert, not even an investigator! I have a slight hunch someone in our trio has been asking for more patience in their prayers and that´s why we can´t find anyone. I hope they hurry up and develop it so we can get to teaching some legit people again haha. Anyways, the person we finally got ahold of was Romina. I can´t remember if I told you all much about here before but she has been to church twice this transfer. We had a way cool lesson with her and Sister Packer (the mission nurse) because Romina is pretty fluent in English. We talked about the importance of baptism and then the role the Book of Mormon plays in getting an answer from God if we should do it or not. She said she really wants to know and she seems pretty sincere so we´re really excited for things to happen there.

We also started teaching the mother of a recent convert who got baptised in Utah while visiting her aunt for a couple of months. Pretty much all of her family are members and i think some things have happened in her life that have made her a little more open to listening to us so that´s way cool. She said at first she was horrified when she found out her daughter had been baptised but then when she saw her and saw how much she had changed she thought twice. She works this Sunday but she said she´s going to come next Sunday when she doesn´t work so i´ll let you all know about how that goes.

With all the love of wearing down Nike shoes,

Elder Lounsbury

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Just keep running

So, this week was another pretty normal week. I guess I have to catch you all up on the New Year´s celebrations we did because I wrote the last email before we had actually done much. We, once again, spent time at Presidents house with lots of food. And with his family. It was so cool going up to the top of his apartment complex and looking out over the city. There´s something I just love about how alive the city is. It was a great time to reflect on life and the mission. While we were back in our pench the firework frenzy broke out again. Seriously, I don´t know if it´s just the culture or because we were in the city but I felt like I never had an experience like that in the states with New Years. It sounded like a war zone again for a good half hour.

This week we´ve kept up the running. I´m starting to get a little tired of it, starting is for sure the hardest part, but once it´s all said and done it does feel pretty great. This week we ran a "Lazy Man´s Marathon" where we ran the distance of a marathon in 5 days. We had it planned to do it in 6 but Elder Ostler had to do visa stuff super early on Wednesday and instead of waking up ridiculously early we opted to run a little bit more and do it in 5 days. Today we had to run 10 kilometers but we kinda got lost and in order to make sure we didn´t run less than the 10 that we needed to complete the "marathon" we ran an extra loop. That looped seemed to last forever but at least we´re sure we made it to the goal haha. I love after you pass the point where you don´t think you can run any more, and then you do. I know I made a runny analogy last email with goals and being able to see where we´ve come from but I think the situation deserves another. All of this running has made me realize more fully the importance of placing yourself in good company. I would love to say even if Elder Ostler and Elder Burr weren´t running with me every day, I would still get up (sometimes even a little early) to go out and run, but the truth is, a lot of days I don´t know if I would. Es mas, all of those moments where my legs and mind are tired and I think I can´t go any further, I keep going because I know they´re still going and I can´t let them down. I feel like life is similar in a lot of ways, the influence our friends have on us is incredible. They can help us progress in ways we never could alone. Or they can drag us down. Either way their influence is enormous. So make sure you´ve got good ones that won´t hold you down!

This week was pretty similar to last week in that NO ONE was home. Ahh man, we don´t know if they´re on vacations or still working long hours or if they moved to the mountains to live in a hut with some llamas. We seriously haven´t seen almost all of our main investigators in such a long time. The somewhat good flip-side to that is that we´ve been finding some new people. We´ve found a couple who are looking pretty promising, so we´ll have to see how those develop.

In the offices, this week was SO busy. I had to update the board in president´s office that has a picture of all the missionaries and what area´s they´re in (which is a huge pain), I had to work on Aguas de Cuyo because we have zone conference coming up next week, and get all of the baptisms entered in for the year which involved some super last minute calls last night to get information over the phone so I could enter the last ones in. Plus, I made this "Budget Reader" program a little while ago for Elder Kammerman but the Budget we get has changed a little bit so all of the number were off. So this week I´ve been making a new version of it that will work no matter how many accounts get added to the budget. I feel like it´s my first legit program and it´s given me some insight in to how I can update the other ones I´ve made so that they´re more future proof and not so prone to change. So that´ll be a fun project in the coming weeks...


With all the love of a llama,

Elder Lounsbury

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Hello family! I hope you all have had a great week, things over here have been pretty busy. We had two Christmas parties on Tuesday and Thursday (half of the mission on one day and the other half on the other day) and on Monday we had to set everything up for it. They were way fun, we got to play sports for the first part of it, then we eat, had a white elephant gift exchange and then Santa Claus came! Elder Falcon and I were Santa´s Elves in a little skit we did for everyone. We were sitting next to Santa taking our vacations relaxing and eating ice cream when he started to think something was missing. He realized he had missed mission mendoza! So he called up his wise men (President and Elder Christensen) and they brought candy to everyone haha. It was pretty fun. I had a fake beard on and I kept pulling it down to eat the ice cream which got some good laughs. I´m loving the offices with everyone, we´ve gotten close and just have a blast with Sister Avila and President. We´re going to their house again tonight to celebrate the New Year so that should be fun as well.

Speaking of New Years celebrations, we said goodbye to 2011 and welcomed 2012 this morning by running 13 kilometers. It honestly didn´t seem that bad...until the last 3 kilometers that were all up hill. And the last kilometer was basically as steep as Mount Everest. We ran around Parque San Martin for about 10 kilometers and then headed for Cerro de la Gloria. Cerro means hill but I´m pretty sure it´s the biggest "hill" I´ve ever seen in my life. I was so absolutely dead when I got to the top but it felt great once we could breath again and look out across all of Mendoza and see where we had come from.

I think I´ve been having moments like that lately as I think of New Years goals and goals for the last half of my mission. It´s been cool to look back and read what I wrote last year at this time and realize where I´ve come from and the progress I´ve made. I think a lot of what I wanted to accomplish this year I´ve done to a certain extent but there´s still a lot more I could work on. So a lot of my goals for this year are to continue progressing on the ones I put at the beginning of last year. There´s a couple new ones and they have different focuses but for the most part they´re pretty similar. What kinda New Years goals do you all have?!? You better have some good ones because you´re not going to get anyone if you don´t know where you want to go.

We haven´t had a ton of success this week with teaching people, it seems like no one is home. A couple of our investigators are really busy with work so it´s been kind of a long week because we haven´t been able to teach any of them. Hopefully after the new year things will start calming down a little and we´ll be able to find people more often. We did find some really cool people last night when we were out so we´ll have to see what comes from them. It´s a bummer because a new year is such a perfect time to talk about baptism and "being born again." What better way to start off a new year than by getting baptised and literally starting a new life? But, we´re doing all we can, there´s not much we can do when our people are never home.

Welp family, It was awesome to see you guys last Sunday. I hope you all are having a wonderful time chilling and hanging out together.

With all the love a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder Lounsbury