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 face...in 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.