Monday, October 12, 2015

August 31st- Jersey's with Hartvigsen and Back and Forth Email Chains with Elder Nelson

August 31st: The first day that we were able to manage back and forth emails with Elder Nelson:
Elders Nelson and Hartvigsen with new futbol jerseys

Elder N: Hey, so you guys know I'm uploading a video to Dropbox that needs to get to Curtis before august 31 for the stake activity. Thanks

Dad: Curtis Flynn?

Elder N: Yes. Did it upload in Dropbox correctly?

Dad: Everything was great! I already got it up on Facebook and tagged Curtis so he would have it too. The only sad part is that it cut off the top of your head.  How are you doing? Everything is great here-mom and I are all good and everything is kosher. Who was asking you all the questions in the video? Harty? (Hartvigsen?) How is Sosa? He doesn't have much time left, does he?  Curtis is going to use all the videos he gets for a stake activity. I guess he has 8 so far.  Tonight mom is taking Ayami to an Ariana Grande concert at the Save Mart Center- and then this weekend is Ty and Tanya's wedding at Santa Barbara. Should be interesting. I had my first USC class Saturday and it was awesome - I am excited to finally be working on my doctorate! Things at work are crazy but fun- Fresno unified is actually being investigated by the FBI on one of their school construction deals and we are all over the press, so I am dealing with that. Luckily it doesn't involve me, though.
Elder N: Sweet! I had to upload it overnight in the house of a member, but I'm glad you guys have it. Elder Hartvigsen was in charge of filming but at least it was only my hair. I'm doing chill. We have a zone activity today so we have 10 missionaries crammed in one cyber. That's good that you and mom are good. Yeah Elder Hartvigsen- if I need to re-film it I can, but let me know what Curtis wants. Sosa is alright. He's older (24) but we have some pretty different desires when it comes to missionary work. He honestly doesn't seem to care much whether we have zero lessons a day or 10, and I want to teach as many people as possible each day so I'm going to have to work with him on that. Yeah, he finishes right before Christmas. Wow why is the FBI involved?
Wow, I had like a 5 second blank of who that artist is but now I remember. Wow send felicitaciones a ellos. So what does a doctorate do for you and how much time is it going to take you?
Dad: Somebody in the community is claiming that it was a deal for a builder who donated a lot of money to the bond election. I didn't even realize there were ten of you in Argentina total! Is that everybody? If you film it again, maybe just up against the wall, instead of showing the whole apartment- and I wish he had left it running at the end when you were goofing around and your personality came through. Curtis is going to edit it into parts he said. I've lost 40 pounds, btw The doctorate is just an awesome opportunity to learn new stuff. And it could potentially open a college teaching gig when I retire from Fresno. The whole process is likely to take 3 years altogether. So how is your family progressing who has a baptismal date later this month? And Ali made it to the Provo Mtc. Haven't heard much from Sam, but it looks like Greg is going to get remarried soon, so you may want to reach out to him via email.

Elder N: Oh wow so I assume that's illegal? Well there are 6 of us here in Gualeguaychú(4 elderes 2 hermanas) the same situacion in Concepcion only that 2 of the elders there are the zone leaders, and the Colon is one pair of elderes and one pair of hermanas. The people from Colon aren't coming today, because Hermana Davidson(also from California) fainted and had to go to the doctor. They also live two hours away and no one wants to waste time traveling on a pday. Ha ha, that was honestly the cleanest part of the apartment. Our apartment is so bad right now. The other night I took a cold bucket shower because we didn't have hot water or water pressure. Ok sweet. But let me know if I need to do it again, or if Curtis is happy with what he has. Wow 40 pounds that's impressive. Talking about impressive, I ate 13 pieces of pizza Saturday at a pizza buffet place here called Pizza Free if you want to look it up. 

Dad: Now that is impressive- great work on the pizza! I'll have to find a picture of pizza free for the blog. I love you and am really proud of you!

Elder N: Ha ha pizza number 11 was a pretty tough one, but after that I knew I could eat 2 more to reach my goal of 13. I'll have to show you the picture of my stomach that night. (Note: This photo was removed for editorial purposes ;)

Dad: Just don't follow after the family gut habit! When does your conference start? When are the next cambios?
Elder N: Ha ha, I'll try not to. What conference? We just had the worldwide conference this Sunday, and 50 people went which is pretty decent considering most people think if there isn't santa cena it isn't worth going. We should receive cambios Septiembre 18 because that is when Presidente Smith is going to come. 

Dad: I was talking about your zone conference. Any word on your patriarchal blessing? And that's cool-President Smith is coming-do you still email him every week? And does he email you back? Or does he just email everyone?
Elder N: We had one this last week I believe, but we will have another one when Presidente comes. I tried super hard to get it this week and that was a joke. The Presidente of the Stake came as well as one of his conslores not this Sunday but the other Sunday. Anyways I asked the stake president and he said he would come back during the week with it. He never came but Presidente Martinez came Wednesday and then I talked with our Presidente of Rama to remind someone to bring it because Presidente Martinez came to our church building this week. The first thing he told me when he got out of his car was "don't ask me about your patriarchal blessing because I don't have it" So I've pretty much given up trying to get it because at this point I don't know who has it. It would have been a lot easier if the patriarch just kept it and I would have crossed to pick it up rather than do this goose chase.

Dad: Well-nobody can say that you didn't try to do your part-it looks like you're having a lot of fun over there, and working very hard. Do you think you'll be ready to go to college when you're done with your mission? One of the advantages of going on a mission first is they'll be a lot of people at BYU that you know. Now you're a big-time player in the Mormon collegiate hit parade.
Elder N: Yeah. It's just frustrating. I mean I honestly don't think it takes a lot of effort to grab a piece of paper. They only live an hour away by car but whatever ya fue. I'll definitely be ready to date girls again that's for sure. But yeah I don't think college will be that difficult. 

Dad: OK man-it was awesome chatting with you today via email-I have to get to work. I love you very very much. Be sure to write your mom today, and thank all your comps for taking care of you. You're the best, and I miss you! Talk to you next Monday, love, Dad
Elder N: Yeah this was sick. I'm basically always on at this time of day so now you know. Yeah I wrote her but didn't get to chat with her but she is probably sleeping. Enjoy work and see you next week.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Video of Elder Nelson's New Companion Arriving! And Updates from August 11th through August 24th!

Editorial note: Apologies for the delay in getting these updates posted!  It has been a busy time with job changes, new callings, school starting, doctoral program starting, and moving everything, including ourselves, out of the house in order to get our new flooring installed!  At any rate here is the latest!

Elder Nelson was a day late posting on August 11th, as they had transfers...
August 11th:
How's everything going? I'm on right now, but I might get off at 12 and get on later. We got changes. Elder Hartvigsen and I aren't companions anymore, because he is going to train a new companion, but I get to stay in Gualeguaychú with Elder Sosa from Barcelona, Spain. 

Things are super tranquilo. We cleaned the house yesterday, and it is going to be just me and Elder Sosa in the house for the next two days. Yeah it wasn't that scary (nearly being robbed) because it was midday and I don't think he had anything on him that he could hurt us with. 

OK, I'll think of a Christmas list and try to send it in a separate email so it doesn't get all mumbled up in this one. Wow only a month left? (until Josh shows his goat at the Madera fair) I would always prefer a goat that braces, over one that walks. because potentially with a bunch of other goats he might have the desire to follow. I honestly don't remember getting asked a ton of questions, (by the FFA judges) but then again I never placed super high in showmanship and I think that is where there are more prone to ask questions. Ask the teachers they probably know better than I do :P 

That's cool Josh got to go to the temple. THAT'S WEIRD ABBY IS ALMOST 2 YEARS OLD. oops on the caps lock. Thanks for keeping me in on the loop. Tell me what pictures you guys want in Dropbox. Thanks for updating it. Now I think we can store everything without a problem. Tell Ali hi for me and that Argentina is sweet. I'm sure she'll enjoy it. I love you and hope everyone transitions smoothly back to school.

August 17th to Mom:
He's cool (Elder Sosa). He only has 4 months left and doesn't appear to want to work as hard as I do but it is only week one together so we will see how things improve. We haven't done a ton of work these last two weeks because of changes, but I hope this next week everyone can start working hard and that we can get more people in the church.

Wow that's cool about Ali (Nomellini). Yeah, it's weird to think about how soon all of us will be coming home. I wrote the majority of stuff to dad so if you want to read it he should have it. That's cool you guys got to go to the temple. After six months of not going, I'm definitely looking forward to going back to the temple.
Well enjoy the mommy time with Destiny and Abby in the house. We are in a crappy cyber
today because it is a holiday and the other good ones aren't open. 
Take care and I love you :)

August 17th to Dad:
(Regarding remaining in his current area longer) I doubt it. The longest an Elder has been in Argentina is 4 cambios and this is my third, however in the system it looks like I'm the new
Elder so there's a good chance I have another cambio in Argentina. I like the people. In Artigas the people were cool but I didn't really develop any strong bonds with them so when I left I honestly wasn't sad. However when I have to leave Gualeguaychu I'll probably be
pretty sad. (Regarding how many companions he has had thus far) 4 in the field, 5th if we count my comp from el ccm. 
Nope, we are still living in the old house and don't know when we can move into the new house. It depends how fast the church lawyers work I think.  

The new elder is called Elder Smith. The poor kid is so lost. He can speak Spanish but everyone talks over him because if we wait for him to complete a sentence, we just lost 10 minutes of our lives. He's quite the contradiction. He knows a lot of popular stuff but at the same time is a klutz. For example, he tripped going up a curb today and then a minute later broke his umbrella because he didn't know how to close it. I'm glad I'm no longer an oro (greenie) and that the people can understand me and that I can understand them.  I feel bad for Elder Hartvigsen because he basically does all the teaching right now and will potentially do it for 2 cambios. Yeah Hartvigsen and Smith arrived jueves mediodia. Us and the hermanas were at the terminal to pick them up and we even made a sign for the kid so hopefully he feels welcomed.

It's weird that I haven't gone to the temple in almost 6 months. I sure do miss it. We are
still missing roof panels but I think guys came and fixed the roof so it doesn't leak anymore. Yeah everything was normal yesterday. However we had sacrament first for my whole mission it has been reversed but we received direction that we should have la santa cena
primera. We had 52 people in church. It was a little bit of a bummer because a menos activo came at 11 but didn't know about the change of the schedule. He stayed and the other elders(elder sosa and smith) visited him so hopefully we can start visiting them again. Their
whole family is inactive. They even have a daughter who served a mission and is inactive. I don't quite understand how you can serve a mission and go inactive but I guess it is pretty common. 

We saw Eladia at 5 in the afternoon Saturday but she didn't come to church and she isn't in my area anymore so I don't know how she is doing but she appeared good Saturday. Clara wants to go to church but her daughter was hospitalized)(more details below) so she couldn't go this week. Other than that a lot of people don't have desires to go to church and I don't know why.

Yesterday was so crazy. I ate a ton for lunch. We ate lunch with 
Familia Monti. I love this family. Normally we eat  Sundays with Presidente de Rama but he couldn't for some reason. This family pulled through in a pinch. We brought whatever food supplies we had laying around in the house, but she was already cooking when we got there. The mom was inactive at one point but she got reactivated and her daughter both got baptized a year and a half ago. Her son doesn't have a ton of interest in the gospel but we are all praying for him. I actually get along with him super well. He's a really cool kid but I don't know what he has against the church. The dad is also super cool. He looks like a gringo. He and Carolina recently got divorced like 2 months ago. Apparently he also isn't  a fan of the church but I
get along super well with him and I've heard he hasn't gotten along well with elders since like 4 years so that makes me feel pretty special. Maybe some day they will be baptized or at least that's my hope. Anyways we ate a ton of food.  I'm talking like two mini mountains of pasta mixed in with pancakes and then jello and chocolate cake for lunch. We also did choir practice because we have to sing at the end of this month for stake conference so we have had like 4 practices so far and we are sounding pretty good. So yesterday we were going to visit Clara and Ema, but we forgot so we 
promised we would go today. It was 6:30 and every taxi was telling us we would have to wait 15 minutes. Well that wouldn't give us the time we needed. Normally this family has a car, but the dad had it who was
traveling to Buenos Aires. We decided we were going to run for it. Elder Sosa doesn't run so we did on the spot divisiones. So me and Harty became comps again. We were going to take one bike to the hospital and I would be on the handlebars but that wasn't an option
so we literally just booked it to the hospital. I'll never forget that run. I was so full of food. My shoe was also broken. The bottom part is separating from the upper part so it was like running in a flip flop. Halfway there I wanted to walk but we had to get there before 7, because that's when visits stop. Anyways, halfway there I said a prayer in my heart that I 
could continue running and that we could make it there in time. We arrived at the hospital at 6:55, found the room, I gave the daughter a blessing of health and we said a prayer
and t
hen had to scram because the hour of visits finished. I'm grateful I've always kept the word of wisdom- I doubt if I was a smoker I could have made that run. 

We then visited Aslin. This was a super interesting experience. We got there and she got robbed of 800 pesos which by the bank trade rate is 100 dollars. It was the money of her daughter or the money that the dad of the daughter gave them. We prayed with her, we were going to share 1 nefi capitulo 3 with her, but she was a little too unfocused. so we didn't get to finish We offered a blessing of comfort and right as we finished the dude that stole the money showed up. He was really scrawny and not intimidating at all. Anyways we left them to settle stuff out. We also met her dad Juan during this time and he is making us steak next Saturday. Pretty cool dude who is just offering us steak and he barely even knows us. Oh apparently they think I look like their German neighbor. The world is a crazy place, dad.

Anyways I love you and hope you keep taking care of yourself and the family.

August 24th to Mom:
Hey mom. I'm doing good. I might get (the Patriarchal Blessing) this next week but we'll see.
If it arrives or not it doesn't matter a ton to me. It would be cool to study it, but I've lived 19 years without it so a month or more doesn't bother me a ton. Just another opportunity to develop patience. 

I'm still making the list. I honestly don't know what to ask for. Yeah more ties are always nice. Ties are kinda expensive here in Argentina. Well everything is kinda expensive in Argentina because the peso to dollar change is screwed up. The bank only gives you 8 pesos for every dollar but I traded with a member the other day for 13.5 so it's basically better to just do it that way.

Below is a email that I sent to Makenna Petersen, but it in it I basically explain our only success of the week which was that we had an investigating family of 5 in the church for the first time.

"Ha ha this week I shared it en principios del evangelio because it was about the word of wisdom this week. We sung the Spanish hymn 202 which made me laugh a little bit. Elder Smith speaks English fine but the poor guy just thinks a ton when speaking in Spanish. Sometimes he goes through all the forms of a word for example (puedo, puede, pueda) he is trying to use present subjunctive a ton which I don't know if that's the best idea as a beginner but not my kid, so what do I care. We walk quite a bit. I trashed a pair of shoes already. The bottom part is almost completely separated from the top part but there is a dude on the street corner that can potentially fix it so I might give it to him. This week we had a family of 5 in the church for the first time. We did divisiones, and I was with the new
missionary and we gave them fecha for 19 de septiembre and they accepted. The guys concern was that he was baptized catholic and thought that would be a problem. Luckily we had a hermana with us who has been a member for like 5 years and she was also baptized in the catholic church so her testimony is kinda what sealed the deal which was sweet. P-days are pretty stressful. There isn't a ton to do here but p-days always seem to go by so quick."

I honestly don't have a ton to report to you guys this week. Luckily we didn't have rain all this week so that was a blessing. This upcoming Sunday we have to sing in a choir because we are having a stake conference I believe to call the new aposteles or stuff like that. Oh one day we gave 3 blessings: one was to a baby(Lucio) and then to Presidente Aragon and
then to Hermana Richards and gracias al poder del sacerdocio (thanks to the power of the priesthood) all of them are doing better now. The priesthood is a pretty cool deal and I'm glad I have many opportunities to use it during the day. Even people who aren't
baptized, yet have testimonies or experiences of the power of the priesthood. 

I'll try to get that Christmas list to you. I love you and I'll be praying for you guys and the house this week.

August 24th to Dad:
I'm doing chill. Not much is happening. However yesterday we had 5 new people in the church. It was kind of a miracle. We were doing divisiones and I was with the new missionary. We went to this family that I found with Elder Flores and we got them to accept a baptismal date of Sept 19. What really saved us was that Hermana Evangelina was there and explained that she was also baptized in the catholic church but that she then got baptized in our church. After that the dad accepted and hopefully by their baptism date they'll be solid. I'm stoked for them because that's literally the only success we had this week. 

Elder Sosa is chill. Kinda quiet and doesn't have a huge desire to work, but I'm trying my best to love the dude. Elder Smith is doing pretty well. He's catching on. He has a desire to work which is good. The other day he wanted to buy juice, but refused because he was convinced we couldn't visit everyone we had planned for if he bought juice. 

Yeah I was studying in the bus(we were traveling from Concepcion to gualeguaychú) and I just felt a really strong impression that good stuff was going to happen that night and stuff just kinda fell into place. Yeah, I'm motivated but discouraged. We had 52 people in church but 10 of those are people that aren't actually from our ward or aren't regulars. I'm just not seeing a huge change in gualeguaychú and I think we need to start working harder if we want to actually help this branch.

Alright keep doing your job as a dad.  Anyways I have to go, so I hope you guys get everything worked out. I love you.

Monday, August 3, 2015

August 3rd! Elder Nelson Narrowly Avoids Being Robbed! Yikes!

Elder Nelson to Dad: 
Yesterday some dude tried to rob us. We were just walking and there was a dude on a bike. He asked for our cellular and we were like, "no." He kept asking, but stayed on his bike the whole time. We turned right, and he followed us, but we were on a side walk deal and he stayed in the middle of the street and we had a car in between us. He kept asking for wallets and the cellphone and we just told him no. I looked at Elder Hartvigsen and asked "Qué quiere hacer?"(what do you want to do). He asked "Quiere correr?"(wanna run) to which I responded "Cómo no." (Why not?) but I was super tranquilo. Eventually the guy said voy a pegarte(I'm going to hit you) but then he rode off. We jogged out of that area but it was honestly the lamest attempt to rob someone. We decided next time it happens we are going to fake fight one another in English or pull out the cellular and pretend we are the FBI (the people actually think we are the FBI) and call for backup. I'm honestly not that concerned. He was super scrawny and Elder Hartvigsen and I wouldn't have any problem defending ourselves against this guy. 

Glad to hear the surgery went well. I was praying for you and I asked the other elders to do the same. No I'm not trunky. (homesick) I wish I had more success at this point. I feel like in 6 months, I haven't really done much of anything. It seems like I still just started, but it is weird to think that Morgan and Makenna only have a year left in the mission. We've found a lot of new investigators recently, but I don't know how many of them are going to progress to baptism, so potentially with some of them we are wasting time, but I think this week we are going to drop some. 

Elder Crockett should be coming tomorrow, and I think we are going to look at houses tomorrow, so hopefully we can move out of the house we are in now. I don't know if there are any big things happening in the mission. President emailed me this week saying that we are either following Christ or the devil. I find that thought to be really interesting. We are always changing either for better or worse. 

Right now I'm studying chapter 11 of PME (Preach My Gospel in Spanish) which is how to help people make and keep commitments. In comp study, we basically just share what we studied in comp study. I'm sorry I don't have a ton to share about my studies, I'm normally thinking about how to help the investigators.

I don't know how to apply the stuff to you guys. I guess the sabbath day. This week a guy from the stake came and taught about el dia de reposo. One of the questions was what signal are we sending the Lord in this day? We rest from our labors, but that doesn't mean we do nothing it means it is a day to do his work. I would say visit people Sunday. Make sure people don't go inactive. There are like 50 soild people in this rama but 500 people in the register so that's pretty bad retainment.  I love you, take care, and keep losing weight.

Elder Nelson to Mom: 
I'm doing good. No I don't need anymore dessert recipes. That was only for my other area, and now we don't have a functioning oven, and we barely eat with the members and they don't require that we bring anything. Well, one guy thought we were going to bring food and cook for him. He's special though, so we couldn't really get mad at him. He gave us 3 potatoes to eat. That didn't fill us up at all, so we bought Sanduba after. However he had a lot of well known songs in English so that made up for it. I've gained 30 pounds I think. I don't know what is fat and what is muscle. I'm getting fed well but that's because we eat out every day. So I hope you aren't expecting me to buy awesome gifts because basically all the money I have taken out has gone to food, or taxis/buses, or minutes for cellular. 

Naw, I'm not really discouraged. I would rather have the people tell us no. What happens is almost everyone is willing to listen to us which is great, but at the same time we want them to change, and that's the part that they fail to do. It would be easier if they told us no so we could focus on finding people who are going to progress. 

Sounds like all is good at home. Hey you guys should tell me what pictures you want becuase at this point I don't know what pictures I've sent and which ones I haven't, so if you request stuff and I can try and send it. You guys should have the missionaries teach Ayami the lessons when she comes back. I think it would be a good experience for the whole family. I love you, and hope you enjoy your week. if you need help with the flooring I can help you choose which one. Nos vemos madra mía

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 27th: Elder Nelson Opts Out of Kicking Children Who Make Fun of his Accent in the Face... (Probably for the best.)

To Dad:I've taught the Gospel Principles class here in Gualeguaychú 4 or 5 times already, but they finally called a member to teach the class. It's a fun experience. Disfrútelo. It wasn't a "lesson" per se. You just got up and shared a scripture, why it's significant and how we can apply in in our missions. 

Nope, still no copy of the (patriarchal) blessing. Apparently President Silva has it, but I don't really know who he his and when he is coming to Gualeguaychú.  We have 4 people that can eventually get baptized, but they all have to start coming to church which is a big to do. 

(Re: the four missionaries sharing a home) We get along super well. He (Elder Hartvigsen) cooked pasta for us last night so that was cool. I hope I get to stay another change or two with him. Haha, internet stalk (my companions) all you want dad. 

(Re: being away for 6 months now, and how they celebrate that occurrence) Yeah, I think I wrote 6 meses 18 más or something like that. Yeah, from what I've heard 6 months is a tie. 1 year is a shirt. 18 months is a pair of pants and supposedly 2 years is a suit but I might serve more like 23 months rather than 24 because we have to leave with the changes. Anyways we'll see. 

So Todd is getting married again. What does Ayami think about having a sibling? Are Ty and Tanya already married? So did the deer do anything to the dogs or just chased after them? Wow, tell Josh congrats on the bass guitar purchase. Thanks Dad. I better go talk to mom now. I love you.

To Mom:
Things are going good. Tranquilo. We actually have a ton of new investigators because we left with a recent convert and she is taking us to everyone she knows in her barrio. I don't think all of them are going to get baptized but just number-wise some of them are going to have to get baptized eventually, I would assume. 

(Re: how his Spanish is coming along) The adults understand me, but little kids still make fun of my accent, and if I wasn't a representative of Jesus Christ I would definitely drop kick them in the front of their parents too. 

Go with a darker flooring but not too too dark. Sounds like you guys are having fun. I don't have a ton to report. I have potentially gained 20 pounds in the mission, so that's interesting I guess. I love you and hope your neck feels better.

To Grandma:

(Re: the Patriarchal Blessing) It was in Spanish and I assume I'll receive it in Spanish as well. Haha, that's good that everyone still loves each other (despite us having to live with Grandma while our house was being re-plumbed)

At least you guys have showers with water pressure. We are in the process of looking for a new house because the one we have right now would be more work to repair everything than just buy a new place. 

Wow congrats to everyone getting married. There's going to be a lot of new faces when I return. I assume Todd's new wife doesn't speak any english? Thanks for writing me Grandma. Thanks for taking care of the family. I love you, and I'll be sure to keep you in the loop.

To Nana and Pop:
July 20th:
Are Ty and tanya married yet? That's cool that everyone got to have a summer get together.  (Re: Abby repeatedly jumping off the side of the pool, despite not knowing how to swim) Haha, Abby is a wild one. Destiny too, but looks like Abby is a bit more adventurous

Elder Sosa finally arrived so we are no longer in a trio. He is from Spain. I don't know what he thinks of us crazy gringos, but we all get along super well. Enjoy the warmth there and I hope the fires calmed down. I liked the fossil joke. I love you both.

July 27th:
(Re: Nana and Pop going to the Chowchilla Fossil Museum) Wow, that's interesting. I think I've only seen cow bones here, but there's almost always some kind of bone on the side of the street. 

Wow, Destiny a flower girl. I think the first time I was a ring bearer I didn't want to walk down the aisle. Hopefully she doesn't follow my example. 

I honestly haven't seen any real fires during my mission. I've seen people burning their trash outside their house but other than that I haven't seen much. I assume it would be pretty boring to be a firefighter here. 

Thanks for the prayers. I love you guys and hope you're doing well.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

July 20th: Traveling for Elder Nelson's Patriarchal Blessing, Seeking Shelter at 3am, and

July 20th:
Getting my Patriarchal Blessing went really well. Super crazy travel day. So we woke pretty early and then we left running to Sanduba (basically a Subway) to buy sandwiches, but in half an hour we had to be at the terminal. We decided we didn't have time, so we called a taxi and arrived to the terminal with plenty of time and got on without problems. Crossing the border was a little more complicated. Everyone on the bus had to leave to show their passport, and after that had to show our bags. We arrived at Fray Bentos, but they didn't have a bus that went to Dolores until 8 at night. We decided to go to Mercedes, in hopes that that had more buses to Dolores because it was closer. I think we boarded the exact same bus we took to get there, and potentially could have stayed on, but that would have been dishonest. I paid for the other Elders because they didn't have pesos Uruguayos. Luckily, there were others buses to Dolores. We took a bus that left at 4ish and arrived a little bit before 5 in Dolores. However, before that, we had time to chill in the terminal so the other elders bought food to break their fast (well only elder Hartvigsen was fasting) and we bumped into two other elders in Tata (market). Elder Goddard y Elder Nelson, both like 6 and a half feet. They offered us a place to crash for the night, but we didn't end up taking it but I'll get to that later. 

So when we arrived in Dolores, the patriarch was waiting for us and walked us to the capilla. It took about an hour. He showed us the church, interviewed me personally, and then we got to the blessing part. He asked the other Elders if they brought their blessing, but neither of them did. The blessing was pretty good. Pretty spiritual and I understood all of the blessing. I definitely need to read it to remember everything. 

I was supposed to get the copy this Sunday, but I might get it next Sunday.  Presidente Silva has it, but I don't really know who that is. The patriarch then took us to his house for hot chocolate. Super nice gesture, but I was starving because I was fasting for like 26 hours or something, and hot chocolate did not satisfy me. Luckily 10 minutes before the bus left for Mercedes again, we found a food truck and I bought a choripan. It was super messy in the bus, but luckily I didn't spill anything on my suit. 

This is where things get complicated. There wasn't a bus to Paysandu until 1 in the morning. So we ended up chilling in the terminal until 1. I finished reading San Juan, and Elder Thompson wrote like 10 cards to familia and people in his old areas. We all slept in the bus. We arrived at 3am in Paysandu, but the terminal there is like an awning more than an actual building and it was super cold. We decided to go to the elders house there, hoping they would answer. We rang all the doorbells(there were like 4 different ones) and eventually an Elder answered. The 3 of us slept on 2 mattresses horizontally, with only a handful of blankets, but we were super grateful because the terminal would have been pretty horrible that night.  At 5am in the morning, 4 more elders showed up, but those poor guys had to sleep on the floor. One guy used a padded chair as a pillow. 

The meeting with Presidente was pretty good. He told us that we are his purpose that he wants each of us to have an undeniable testimony and that we can get sealed with our future wives. Those were the key points I remember. I shared John 15:15 with all the missionaries. Basically explains about obediencia y amor. We did recieve Elder Sosa Martes, and it was another half day of traveling. We left at 4, but didn't get home until 9:30pm

The foursome is good. We all get along super well. Elder Hartvigsen was actually comps with Elder Sosa right before he left for the offices. 

It isn't super cold, but yeah some days are pretty cold but this last Sunday it was actually kinda hot. Like you could have sweated a little bit. I'm ready for the heat again. Tell Josh good luck with the goats. Hopefully I answered all your questions. I love you both and pray for you guys. 

July 13th: Celebrating the 4th of July as Expatriates with Pritty- the Argentine Approximation on Mountain Dew!

July 13th: (To Nana and Pop)

Happy 4th of July! I enjoyed your video. Yeah, I was trying to remember what I did for my last 4th of July in America and I was almost certain we went to a baseball game. 

There are 3 gringo (companions) together right now. Elder Hartvigsen from Surprise, Arizona, Elder Thompson from Selah, Washington, and me. So we threw a little party for lunch. We had hot dogs, grido ice cream and Pritty, which is the closest equivalent to Mountain Dew, but still way off...

The companion of Elder Thompson didn't arrive in Argentina, because his passport expired. Elder Sosa is from Spain so they had to send the passport off to get renewed and if there aren't any problems, he should be coming to Argentina the 13th but we'll see. In the mean time Elder Thompson might receive a "corto plazo" which means a teenager from the church will be his companion for a short time, rather than a missionary. However in the meantime us 3 are working together: one day in his area and the other in ours. It's pretty complicated and we basically have to cover all of Gualeguaychú other than the small part in the middle that the Hermanas have. 

Anyways sounds like you guys had a blast for 4th of July. Destiny is already 3? Wow I'm getting old way to quick. Hope everything is doing good in the mountains and that baby sitting goes well. I love you guys and take care!

To Mom and Dad:
I really like it in our trio. It will be weird once Elder Thompson actually gets his comp. Nah, nobody gets singled out. We all get along super great. We were in a member's house last night and they couldn't stop laughing because I guess I did something funny, but we are always smiling and laughing. We are stoked for our road trip today. Working this week was a little hard because we have one day in our area and one day in his area.  Since the hermanas have arrived our asistencia has dropped. Our high was 64 and this week was our lowest of 51. Yes, I'm the youngest. When I turn 6 months, my comp will turn a year, and Elder Thompson just hit 10 months. We're hoping that Elder Thompson's comp arrives this Martes/miercoles. 

A Corto Plazo (local teenager) lives with you and does everything a normal missionary would do but they only do it for a week or two. This Saturday the 6 of us (Elder del Castillo the zone leader visited for two 2 so Thompson could work in his area) ate together in a place called pizza free. For 60 pesos you could eat all the pizza you wanted. Our district is 6 people. The zone is 6 more in Concepciòn del Uruguay and 4 in Colo, so 16 I believe. 

There's a lot of interesting scriptures. Last night we shared 3rd Nephi 18:19-21. That explains how we pray, that we receive answers to prayers and that we should pray in familias, so we use that a lot to get families to pray together. We also use that chapter to explain that you always have to take the sacrament and if you don't you aren't founded upon the rock of the Gospel. There's a bunch of great scriptures, but I can't share them all with you in this short time. Yeah I remember seeing a picture in the Liahona of an angel comforting Jesus during his time in Gethsemane. Right now we are reading in San Juan to prepare for a capasitaciòn vamos a tener con Presidente Smith mañana. I'm pretty sure my testimony grows everyday or at least that is the goal. 

Naw, not really (people haven't given him a hard time). I mean there are people who don't believe the message but that's not really my problem. They have their agency and if they don't want exaltation I can't really force them. I enjoy the people and Argentina a ton. I don't know if I like it enough to live here for the rest of my life but it's definitely somewhere I want to visit again.  

They only have Coke and Pepsi, but not any of the other sodas those companies make. I honestly don't know the difference in Ice cream but grido here is pretty good. I'll take a picture someday. 

I don't think I've had an official dream in Spanish, but I'm sure there are some Spanish parts thrown in there. I can basically understand the gist of everything everyone is saying, depending on how good their accent is. There are some old guys in the branch who I can't understand at all. And if the people are talking bad like slang and cuss words I don't understand because I don't know any of that Spanish. 

Yeah I'm glad I'm serving. I hope I can help a lot more people get baptized or reactivate but I'm sure that will come with time. I think I like Argentina better. Uruguay is kinda small with only 3 million people in the country. One of the biggest differences in this area is that in Artigas there were a lot more Brazilian-speaking cowboys and there aren't many cowboys here, and no one speaks Portugese. I love you too.

July 6th: Leonel Gets Married and Baptized by Elder Nelson!

July 6th:
I should be getting my patriarchal blessing this Sunday, so pray that all my travels go well and that I will understand it.  Leonel was the name of the man (who got married), and Si, I baptized him the first time without problemas. We also have one familia de tres personas that can be baptized, but we still have to teach a lot of lessons to them.

 I honestly don't have time to write. I have 21 unanswered emails. My new comp is called Elder Hartvigsen o algo asi. We are at a zone activity, because everyone is leaving/going. I'm glad for my time with Elder Flores, but happy to have a new companion. I love you, and hopefully we'll have better internet/more time next week.