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