Monday, May 25, 2015

May 25th: First week in Gualeguaychú, with Elder Flores from Honduras!

May 25th:

There's 3 Argentina cities in our mission: Gualeguaychú, Colon and Conceptición del Uruguay (spelling is potentially incorrect but they are all really close to the border. We also have at least one city in Brazil called Quarai which is right above Artigas. 

Changes were loco. So I didn't leave Artigas until Wednesday night but I had already packed all my bedding Tuesday morning so I just slept on the mattress as was. We had to leave our house at 11 pm Tuesday night because missionaries were dying (leaving to Montevideo, to then go to their homes). I then returned and finished packing. Don't think I slept until like 1-ish. 

Three of us went to Argentina: Elder Bagget, Hermana Davidson (fellow californian) and me. I talked with Elder Bagget the whole first leg of the trip. We stopped in Salto, where I ran into Hermana Ubaldo from my CCM group. So I talked with her in the terminal as well as Elder Bedoya who was the ZL before I got to Artigas. There were other missionaries that went with us to Salto, but they left for different areas. We took one more train ride that day to Paysandu (horribly misspelled). That's where we stayed the night. I met some pretty cool people there. Bumped into Hermana Chase (also from my CCM group). Elder Merill and Elder Larea are ZLs there and I already knew both of them. Met two really cool oros, one I don't remember but the other one was called Elder Egito. So yeah we slept in Pdu for the night. We woke up and loaded all the suitcases on the Bus but only Elder Marim, Elder Egito (father and son both from Brazil) and I got to ride the bus. I was lucky because my passport still had 2 more tourist days from when I left the CCM so I didn't have any problems crossing. As for everyone else they had to walk the whole way, and wait for special papers (Argentina is strict about who can get in, the opposite of Artigas and Brazil). 

Anyways, I spent the whole day with Elder Marim and Elder Egito. We had to carry all the suitcases to the Hermanas' house and then back to the terminal at 6-ish when the others finally arrived. Elder Marim and Elder Egito were super cool. We had lunch with the 3 hermanas in the zone with a miebro familia. I helped them with English. We read the book of Enos and I helped them with their pronunciation. At 6, Elder Fawcett, Elder Bagget (our two ZL's) Elder Thompson and I took off for Concepcion. That is where I met my comp. They were having an activity in the capilla which was right across from the terminal. Anyways I was just standing around and then someone told me my comp was there. So not a grand reveal but I met him Thursday night. He's super short but really nice. I think we will get along well. We slept in the house of Elder Sasser y Elder Corera. Friday, we had our district meeting. Our district leader is Elder Berry, who is going to die this change. It's weird, I'm going to live in a house of 4 people again, and for 3 changes in a row someone will have died in the house. Anyways, after the district meeting is when we finally left for Gualeguaychú. Since then, I've just been getting to know the area. It is only a rama (branch) here, so about half the people that we had in Artigas. The area is huge. For example we worked 5 hours Sunday, yet only had 2 charlas (chats) each of which was probably an hour but still that's 3 hours of nothing but walking.

There's still horses here. Not as many, but today there was a whole festival of horses. Well not really, but I guess today is like fourth of July for this city here and they had a huge parade with horses. The work is a lot different. We basically only work with members right now. Not sure why, but that's just how it is. I think we have one investigator con fecha bautismal, but he still needs to get married but I don't think it is as much of a hassle as it was in Artigas.

The city is really cool. There's actually stuff to do here. There's a big central street with shops of every kind but at the same time if you walk to the outskirts of our area theirs houses and dirt roads just like Artigas. There's a lot more autos here than motos. The houses/people here seem to be better off money wise. Like there are houses here that I could see being in America, without standing out which I couldn't really say about Artigas. But yeah, I like Argentina. Don't know if I'll get any baptisms here but we'll see. Just have to focus on doing my best everyday and not get down on myself if I don't see the success that I want to see.

I actually don't really need a sweatshirt. I have one that Elder clark gave me that gets the job done. Plus it is still pretty hot. I mean if there's room, you can send it but I really don't need it. If I need one I'll probably buy one in Argentina or Uruguay. A simple tie clip would be nice. Same with a tie saver (it is a thing the goes through the loop on the backside and buttons to your shirt buttons), gloves would be nice. A basic beanie as well. I don't know how cold winter will be, but it would be nice to have those two things as a precaution. Um, I think I might need a new razor head for my razor. The warning light recently came on, so I don't know what that means, but yeah. The instructions for my razor and camera would be nice. A white or silver sharpie to write on darker ties. I think that's all, but I'm sure I'll think of something once I leave the cyber, but for now I'm doing good on everything. Watch is doing great.

Eh, South America isn't a paradise either- as Dorothy would say "we aren't in Kansas anymore, Toto"  but no I don't really have the missionary depression that they described. I feel like we waste a lot of time walking each day and would could potentially contact more people but I guess that's just how we are supposed to do things right now. I wish I had more measurable success, but that really just comes down to the people. We can't force them to get baptized or come back to the church. Everyone has their agency, and ultimately it's up to them what they decide to do. 

Yeah I've met some pretty cool missionaries. A lot of them are older so I'll potentially come back and they will all be married, but it's cool. Yeah a couple Elder's said they wanted to go to BYU. Elder Amaral of Brazil( ZL in Artigas) might go, which would be super cool. Elder Finlay went to Rivera (another border Brazil town) to be comps with Elder Ratliff. He didn't even go to the bus station with me. We just said bye to each other in the house, and he packed and showered while Elder Amaral took me to the bus station. I've met everyone in my zone, but I only knew Elder Bagget and Hermana Davidson before we arrived in Argentina. 

Yeah my companion is from Honduras. He sometimes speaks with the "y" of Mexico rather than the "shh" of Castellano, but he's a native spanish speaker. Yeah, this area appears a lot bigger which would make you think there is more people to teach, but I don't know if that's the case. We didn't really do the 12 week training program but yeah, I basically know what to do I just need to get to know this new area but it's huge and has a million streets. It's way different than my last area, where we only had two main paved streets. 

And yeah I think the number of missionaries (in the Uruguay Montevideo West Mission) went down but I don't know how many left and how many came. Well this is a really long email. Hope the house continues to get fixed. Take care and talk with you more next week. I love you.

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