Monday, December 30, 2013

Libertador General San Martin (Ledesma), Salta - December 30,2013

Hello Family!
I´m gonna see how much of this stuff from the past two weeks I can fit in in the time I have.
My last time with Elder Whittier
So first off, there were transfers today. I´m going to be passing New Years with my new companion, Elder Burr from Spokane, Washington. Elder Whittier headed off to San Salvador, close to where I started. Elder Jara, one of the other elders in our apartment, finished his mission, so yet another elder from the district of Elder Whittier and Elder Lyman came to replace him. It´ll be a fun transfer! And probably one of the hottest times I´ll ever pass in my life. I think it hit 110 or 120 this past week.
Cool minimiracle. Two weeks ago I forgot my notebook with all my studies and notes from meetings and stuff in the cyber. Later that day we thought about going to send a package to Elder Whittier´s family, but weren´t sure about it. We decided to go for it last minute, so we went back to the cyber cafe to get his address. And they returned my notebook! We ended up not being able to send the package, but had we not gone back to the cyber, who knows where my notes would be now?
I did divisions with Elder Fuentes, a cello-playing Chileno up in a place called Embarcacion. We did service moving the walls of a house. It was really hot up there. But it was really fun to get to know the elders up there while doing service!
Going back from exchanges there was some confusion, so we ended up having to take a taxi for two hours. It ended up being kind of expensive, and no one had money. I ended up being able to use a bill that I´d been keeping as a souveneir (It´s a special edition Eva Peron - you could probably google it). It was sad, but had I not thought to bring it, we would have been in a bad situation, since none of the ATMs were working that morning. Thinking back on it, it very well could have been a spiritual impression.
Haha! So I did an interview with a little girl with 8 years. During the interview, she said yes to everything. When I asked her why she believed that Joseph Smith was a prophet, she looked at me and said in a very matter-of-fact way "Because they teach me about him in church, and when I go to church, I feel good and happy." It was just really cool hearing that kind of conviction and testimony coming from an unusually short 8-year-old. Who needs all kinds of classes, knowledge, and miracles when you have a spiritual witness like that?
We had a really cool moment with the family of some converts - Family Balbino. Only two of their kids got baptized, and have since stopped coming, but there´s a lot of issues with their older son and the dad. The mom was almost in tears, so we decided to change the lesson plan to family prayer. Wow. It´s amazing the peace and tranquility that can enter a home with so many problems when the members of the family just kneel down and pray.
On a less spiritual note, we had the Christmas devotional. The first half was mostly fun - they gave us all toasters and blenders, and Elder Jara played the part of a wise man, since they give the presents here, not Santa (Even though they generally don´t come until the 6th of January). The rest of it was a lesson on faith. Kind of a cool Christmas celebration!
We did a service project where we took stuff to the "dump." I´m glad to be an American, where our dumps aren´t river beds where they take all the trash and throw matches in periodically. And where they don´t teach all the recently baptized Mormon kids to be Catholic in school. It´s the little things that make a country great.
Christmas is celebrated terribly here. Lots of drinking and cumbia - the music here that consists of... it´s like... rap mixed with electronic dance clubbing music and a Mexican mariachi? All night long. Then carrying virgins with really loud drums in parades at 1 in the morning. What better way to remember the Savior´s birth, right? Happy to be a Mormon!
We met an athiest this past week. He was interesting, but one of the things he said that I loved was that people don´t recognize the miracles that there are today. It reminded me a lot of 4 Nephi, when the people marvelled less and less at the signs and wonders. He said, "For some people, it could be a miracle that you guys can stand here peacefully talking to me about Jesus while I try my best to get rid of you and convince you that I don´t want to talk. Or it could be a miracle that a family is unified." It was just interesting to think about all the miracles that are almost commonplace, but even so, are great blessings from God!
I wanted to ask on Skype, but forgot. How are the missionaries in the ward / stake?
Elder Whittier always pet cats when we saw them. In one lesson with members the grandma of the member came, asked to take the cat from my comp, then threw it out in the street. Nothing like a senile, cat-hating grandma to interrupt your lesson on reading the scriptures daily!
I have not been getting along with dogs this week. One bit me and another bit my suit jacket and tore it a bit. Oh well. Life goes on!
I used the Christmas Cards you guys sent me in Oregon! I sent them to my conversos... converts with the translation of the quote up above. It was great! Thanks mom and Cait for thinking to send them!
J dubs came to our door! It was really fun! I asked them what was different about their church than the others. The idea of the trinity being three, no worshiping idols, world wide church, etc. Yup. We have all that. They left us with some pamphlets. I was disappointed. They ask lots of questions, but I couldn´t find the answers anywhere! Where did we come from? God created Adam and Eve! Where do we go? Some people go to live with God and the rest stay here. When was Christ born? Not December! I compared it to the answers in our pamphlets and was again, grateful to be Mormon.
Wow. I had lots to say. Hope everything goes well this week! Love you guys!

Libertador General San Martin (Ledesma), Salta - December 16, 2013

Hello Family!

It was a pretty cool week. Yesterday it rained a LOT and we only had about 50% of the attendance that we normally have. I don't really blame them too much. There are a lot of streets that turn into rivers. Even so, the investigator with his really old girlfriend, Ferdinando, was able to make it! Very wet, but he came! The only sad thing is that due to the divorce system here they have to wait until his girlfriend's husband dies to get divorced... Oh well. At least he's doing his best to keep the commandments!
There's been some crazy stuff here. It's like legalized robbing. It's not really legal, just the police have threatened to go on strike, and if there's no police, people take advantage. It's kinda nuts. A lot of stores have been closing at random times to avoid the damage. Luckily it seems like it's ending.
The Ensign is so cool! I was really a really cool article on the birth of Christ where one of the seventy was explaining the significance of when he was born and such. I'm so grateful for modern prophets! Plus I just downloaded the Christmas devotional to listen to later. Woohoo!
We had a conference with Elder Ferreira from the seventh quorum of the seventy this week. He was pretty cool! Getting there was a pain. Oran is about 90-100 miles away, which is where we go for conferences. The bus times were not convenient. The advice from our zone leaders was "Pray hard and make a decision." We ended up getting permission to pay for a taxi. Much better than going at 4 in the morning and waiting until it started at 11! Something I didn't realize before is that the seventy have a special witness of Jesus Christ. It was really felt when he talked that his testimony wasn't run-of-the-mill. It was just a cool meeting. Especially since he served in this mission when it first opened 27 years ago, and was making all the fun comparisons. They talked a lot about having faith and filling out the right forms in the meeting. Sister Levrino talked about how a lot of times when we go to share the gospel, we think "Nah, they'll never accept." She invited us to have more faith in our family, friends, and people we see in the street. Then President Levrino talked about how we have some wonderful forms that show us all the commandments we have to keep. It's a lot easier to keep track of everything when it's on a piece of paper.
Another fun thing about the meeting is that I saw Elder Howard and Elder Seitz from my MTC District! It's always fun to see them. Crazy to think that 75% of my district is here in northern Salta / Jujuy!
Anyway, I hope you all have a great week and a half! I'll talk to you on Christmas, and hopefully see you! Be sure to have ready to show me what you got for Christmas!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Libertador General San Martin (Ledesma), Salta - December 9th

Hello beloved family!
It's really hard to imagine the thought of snow right now. It's really hot here. And humid.
So this week we went to a few church meetings. I learned that Mormon Standard Latino Time is even worse here. On the plus side, I was able to enjoy some wonderful ice cream and practice a little on the piano as we were waiting for everyone to get there! It was really quite relaxing.
Fun story from the week. A lady passed us in the street and said, "Hey Elders!" We have a habit to talk to everyone that says hi, but she quickly hid in a nearby store. We creepily waited by the entrance "knocking the neighbors doors" until she came out a couple minutes later. She left really fast, so we kinda followed her to her house, where we found that she's a less active that moved from another ward with unbaptized family members that want to listen. Creepy persistence can pay off!
There was a bat in the apartment. I couldn't get a really good photo, but it was fun.
I now understand the phrase "Walking through your shoes" at a whole new literal level. I'm going to spend a good chunk of today looking for a place that sells soles in my size.
Another fun story! We left Thursday and clouds quickly rolled in. It rained a little. Then it rained a lot. Just as the clouds were starting to burst, we were knocking at the door of recent converts we'd never met before. No one answered for a bit when they came running from the other block and invited us in. And there was an adult male in the house! Tender mercies of the Lord. We were able to pass protected from the worst part of the storm and teach while we were at it!
I did a fun exchange with an Elder from Buenos Aires this week. He's really cool, and almost done with his mission. Plus he just happened to serve in Villa Muñecas for four months, so that made for a fun topic of conversation. He said that he really loves being a convert, because when the people say, "I can't change. I can't leave drugs behind. I can't get a testimony," he tells them that they can! Because he did it all. It was a really cool story how his friends just encouraged him to go to church until he went and changed.
I got to do two baptismal interviews this week, both really far away. First we went an hour north to Yuto. The lady was quite interesting. She was ready in almost every sense. She had a couple doubts about the restoration, but nothing uncommon. What killed the interview was that she didn't want to live the law of chastity... I'm so grateful for an understanding of the gospel. She was very concerned that if she obeyed that law, that no one would ever want to marry her and she'd never be happy in life. It's wonderful to realize that true happiness - both immediate and long-term - comes through obedience to the commandments, even though at times it may not seem like it.
The other interview took place in San Pedro, an hour in the other direction. The poor district leader there is in a district with three companionships of sisters. We're the closest elders around. That kid was much more prepared, but still didn't want to get baptized. I'm not entirely sure why... He put up a lot of excuses - his grandma was coming to visit, he wasn't sure if he was willing to commit or if he could deal with the temptation, etc. The good thing was that I was able to testify a lot about the Holy Ghost, and the power and strength we get from receiving that grand gift from God. I realized just how much help, protection, and guidance I've received in various different situations from that member of the Godhead, from relationships to school to resisting temptation. I'm just really grateful for the gospel in my life, and the testimony that I've been able to develop.
This week is going to be good. We'll hopefully have a baptism (assuming they can get married - we've had all kinds of issues with paperwork and doctors on strike and stuff like that). We're also going to hear from Elder Ferreira of the Seventy. It'll be a great experience!
I hope everyone is trying hard to complete Elder Ballard's challenge to bring an investigator or less active to church before Christmas! We're encouraging every member we find here to do that!
I hope you all have a great holiday season! I'm enjoying listening to the CDs you sent me back in Oregon, because the Kings Singers just don't go really well with MoTab.
Anyway, done rambling. Love you guys!


Monday, December 2, 2013

Libertador General San Martin (Ledesma), Salta - December 2nd

Dearest Family,
So, this city is actually called Libertador General San Martin. Really long. Ledesma is the name of the super company that basically everyone in the city works in. It's really hot here. Especially these last few days, but it's not nearly as hot as some other places in the mission, so I'm counting my blessings.
As for Caitlin's comment, our will isn't the only thing we can give Him. There's also referrals to the missionaries! Don't forget about Elder Ballard's challenge! They're making a big deal about that here.
Speaking of Elder Ballard, how are the missionaries in our ward / stake / wherever they are? Have you met them?
So we taught a guy named Ferdinando. He's gone to church every Sunday since who knows when, but isn't baptized. My comp told me he had chastity problems. When we went to teach him, I kept looking for his girlfriend that was supposedly living with him, but I didn't see anyone. Turns out that she was the lady I thought was his mom. She's got 30 years on him. Reminded me of that picture Craig sent us on his mission. We'll have to see what happens in that situation.
We had travel plans that were cancelled twice. Elder Whittier has to go do paperwork in Salta, and since we're out in the middle of nowhere, I'd have to go with him. Unfortunately, Argentina lost his paperwork, so we're waiting a bit longer. Our zone conference that's 2 or 3 hours away was also pushed back, but I'm not sure why. It sure is different being out here!
We were going to have a baptism, but there was a paperwork problem in the marriage process. I'm really grateful for the paperwork in the states. Divorces and marriages aren't NEARLY as bad up there. It all happens in hours in Vegas. Here it takes weeks or months... or years. Even so, everything should be good for this Saturday!
There's an investigator that had a really messed up book that talked about the Mormons - how we worship Joseph Smith, stuff about polygamy, how all matter is energy which is God, how Adam is also our God, and how blacks are children of Satan. And those were just the "core beliefs." It was fun to set him straight.
I had floss issues. A piece broke off between my teeth and I couldn't get it out for 25 minutes. Just wanted to share that.
We had some light issues. Apparently it's hard to get stuff paid here since the offices are far away and no one ever comes out here. Luckily I have a whole bunch of money saved up from past months' allowance and was able to pay it. Woohoo!
Poor Elder Whittier. We're writing a little later today because he was sleeping. Last night he got really sick and threw up a few times. The members were quick to send him to a doctor and somehow got an injection approved that was given in a very painful manner from behind. He's doing a little better now.
I was very grateful for our ward the other day. We went to a nearby branch that the missionaries around here kinda share, since there aren't missionaries assigned there. Church started more than an hour late because the branch president didn't show up until then. After buying the sacrament bread, we had a quick meeting. It was us, the branch president, and a guy who's assigned to go there from another branch 30 minutes away. It just made me very happy that our church started on time and was always good. And that members always go. It really is cool to think about just how strong the church is in Utah. What a blessing!
Anyway, that was my week. Hope yours is great!


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Libertador General San Martin (Ledesma), Salta - November 25th

Hello Family!
You're all really awesome, and I'm very grateful for all of you, even though there's no Thanksgiving here this week!
So I lied. I'm not in Salta. I'm in a zone that's based in Salta, but Ledesma is actually in Jujuy, just very far from the capital where I was before. It's a city based around a huge factory with crazy hours where everyone works. The work is about the same, although here it's a rama... branch. Even so, we had the same church attendance yesterday than I had on a good day in my last ward. There aren't too many differences between wards and branches. However, being a little bit smaller of a city, the siesta is more respected, and so this writing earlier thing will be consistent.
As for leadership, I'm still district leader, just with a new district. It doesn't really imply much for right now, as I don't have a phone. All calls we make we have to do from pay phones. It's kinda a pain, but at the same time, it's nice not having to call the zone leaders every day to tell them how everyone is!
We're currently sharing the apartment with two other elders. It's kinda fun, because one - Elder Parada from Colombia - has been in all my zones - plus we got here around the same time, and Elder Jara from Buenos Aires was in Villa Muñecas for a long time, so we know lots of the same people.
Being here in Ledesma, we're also currently in charge of the cities of Calilegua and Fraile. There's a little branch in Fraile that consists of the branch president and 200+ less acitves. We go every Wednesday. Lots of travel!
It's been a pretty chill week. Always interesting to try to orient yourself in a new place. It's also weird because it's my first time being senior comp and the guy who's new to the area. My comp, Elder Whittier, is super cool. He's from the same MTC group as Elder Lyman, and speaks super well. He also has a ton of great habits that I'm working on developing!
We talked to a JW this week. Finally he explained why the JWs never let us pray with them - "You don't pray using God´s name. You have to pray to Jehova for the prayer to count." Whatever. I'm good praying to my Father. It was kinda fun talking to him, but they don't listen very well...
I got to give a talk on Sunday! The bishop told me a couple minutes before sacrament meeting. I was given the topic of families. I thought it turned out pretty well. It doesn't hurt that I have some great subject matter to work with. I was able to talk about our family nights, the activities we did together, and how we always went to church together! It's the little things that count. Later that day we went to church choir - they want us to participate. I think I was the only one that could carry a tenor part. You know me - I'm not a tenor - but it was fun trying! And I'm no worse than anyone else.
Anyway, that was pretty much the week. Lots of good stuff going on here! I'm excited for the coming weeks. Until later!


Monday, November 18, 2013

Libertador General San Martin (Ledesma), Salta - November 18th

Hello Fam!
So I was transferred away from my hijo. He's still over there in Villa Muñecas Tucuman. Now I'm in Ledesma, Oran. It's in northern Salta. There's a big sugar, paper, etc. factory here. My new comp is from the same group as Elder Lyman - Elder Whittier from Idaho. I'll send a pic next week, cyber permitting.
Not too much to say about last week. I took quite a few pictures! I don't guarantee the quality. Unfortunately, I didn't bring my camera, so you'll have to wait a bit.
We finally unfroze the freezer after months! It was quite the feat.
We talked to two testigos... j-dubs this past week. It made me happy to be Mormon. Both of them said something along the lines of, "What you're saying sounds really interesting, but I don't want to confuse myself now that I'm with this group." If only they realized what they were missing... I'm just happy to not be closed off to other religions - just so sure in what I believe that I know that I'm doing what God wants. We also talked to a very closed off Catholic lady, and it was the same type of situation. They listen, but they don't make the room to consider that it might be true. Sometimes they accuse us of the same, but there's something I love about our message - all of it has to do with asking God, and doing what he says. It just makes everything better!
This week was pretty cool. I met Brother Leal. He's a few months younger than Craig, and was recently called as second counselor in the bishopric. And he served in Burbank, so he speaks fluent English. It was so weird to hear him switch between accents.
My testimony of prayer grew. During exchanges, we met the wife of a member that was just really not interested. I was praying my heart out, trying to know how we could get to her. The answer came as an inspired question to Elder Rengifo - "May I use your bathroom?" We got in the door! Then the conversation naturally turned to eternal marriage and she changed just a little as we testified. Divine help is always very welcome!
Something similar happened the next day. We'd had a special leader meeting, which chewed up a lot of our day. That night, we hadn't had a single lesson. I was begging in prayer to just have a lesson, but everyone wasn't home. Then we turned a corner and saw a lady outside her house we'd contacted a couple weeks ago that was "never home" and "never had time". We had a really great lesson with her. God loves us, and always answers our prayers.
Lucas gave a talk! He got nervous and cut it down to reading out of the scriptures and True to the Faith, but he just has a natural ability to make people laugh, started from the way he just casually walked up to the pulpit with his jeans and started with a mic check. He'll be an awesome missionary.
To finish off, I saw Acey for the first time since the beginning! Kinda cool. What a fun coincidence! I hope you enjoy his homecoming talk! Tell me how it goes.
Well, I hope you all have a great week! Thanks for writing me!


Tucuman - November 11th

Hello Family!
Quite the eventful week! I spent a lot of time outside my area, but we had two baptisms! We taught the last thing we needed to this week - ayuno (fasting) - using the Stanford marshmallow experiment. We put candy in front of them, and told them that if they could resist until the end, we'd give them much more. It was a fun object lesson.
I ate tongue pizza! It tasted very normal.
I went up to Lomas this week with a Colombian Elder. The highlight was when we found a lady that had an evangelist church in her backyard. It was weird... she was saying a lot of strange things - like three kingdoms or heavens, prophets today, the gospel blesses families and we can receive personal revelation - but it was all intermingled with apostasy. I'm just glad to have the truth of all things. And a church that isn't centered on strange rock music and people speaking gibberish while rolling around on the floor.
I also spent some time with another Elder, Elder Malin, while Elder Lyman went to Salta - not too much to say there, except for a small miracle. We taught a family really close to a sharp drop off into a canal. We had to walk quite a ways to get there, and we didn't want to walk back. It seemed certain that there was a way out on the other side, but as we walked, we couldn't find one. We were on the verge of losing about 10-20 minutes walking time when a lady showed us a shortcut that I swear wasn't there before. Tender Mercies!
Poor Elder Lyman got stuck on a broken down collectivo, er, bus. He got back really late. It didn't affect me though, because I was doing exchanges with the zone leaders, so the other zone leader had to wait for him. During those exchanges, we saw more miracles! There was this super Evangelist lady that did not want to talk to us. I've learned the importance of being insistent, since we're talking about eternal salvation, but once it gets to a certain point, I give up. Not Elder Humphrey (Zone leader). He just took it really cool and testified and taught and asked some strangely amazing questions. At the end, she let us in. He has a habit of inviting himself in. I'm surprised that people don't seem to have a problem with that when you do it in a casual, polite way. During those exchanges, we watched a really cool video that a member showed us on Kolob and the universe and stuff. Fascinating!
We participated in a setting apart the other day. It was unexpected and really cool! It's so interesting to see how the power and the authority and the keys of the priesthood work. The power of God is just great!
Anyway, Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Elder Willey

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tucuman - November 4th

Hey Family!
I think I forgot to tell you all last week, but I cut Elder Lyman's hair! I was proud of myself.
We found a crazy guy that wanted to tell us that when Jesus comes again, he's going to protect all the Arabs and kill all North Americans. We just kinda ignored him. I'm glad we have a really sound understanding of the bible in the church.
The other day I was thinking about how well my shoes were lasting. A couple days later I realized that I wasn't getting a lot of dirt in my shoe because it was entering from above, rather that it's coming in from a broken sole down below. Then I noticed that the left shoe of my other pair is the same. I'm currently using the good right shoe from one pair and the good left shoe from the other. I'll send pictures.
There was an annoying parrot that kept yelling "MAMA!" I was very concerned for the distressed child until I realized who was screaming.
The weather here's been nuts. First, over 100 degrees, then 95 with rain, then it dropped to around 70 or 65 with rain (I was not prepared for the cold on the exchanges), now it's hot again. And I thought the Utah weather was nuts.
We had interviews with President this week. It was a lot shorter than my last one. Things must be going really well!
I also did my second and third baptismal interviews this week. At first they didn't answer the door. Luckily their son came to open it because he felt like he needed to come back! The first interview went well, except when I asked if he'd participated in a homosexual relationship he looked down and said "Well, when I was younger, I didn't understand the things very well." I went into panic mode, but he kept talking for a couple seconds and I realized that he was just talking about regular law of chastity issues with women that he'd already repented of, and hadn't understood the question. Phew! His wife was much harder to interview. She's 70, and doesn't hear very well. As soon as we got started, she began to talk. A LOT. And she didn't stop for anything. None of the stuff she said was very important, but I couldn't ask the questions. I called our president for advice, but he didn't really know what to say other than "Try to get her to understand that you need to talk to her." Then a zone leader called to tell me that he knew the lady, and that if I could get her to read the questions, she would answer. It worked. It was a miracle. Especially since the phone I used to call doesn't work. We just happened to find a way to work things out to make those calls. The Lord loves me.
I used the toothpaste example to teach the two girls that are getting baptized this week about daily scripture study - we can't just brush with a lot one day - a little every day. I also used the marble in the plate and the bowl to teach how obedience and rules keep us safe, and ripped up a picture she drew of a church and told her to put it back together to teach the apostasy. I was quite proud of me. So was the primary president.
We had lots of people in church on Sunday. Gospel principles was huge. And it just happened to be the teacher's first time.
One member made a really cool comment in testimony meeting. Everyone noticed the number of non-members there, so they kept their testimonies very investigator appropriate. I was proud. This member got up last and said, "You may have noticed that we all say basically the same thing with very little variation. That's because it's the truth. If it's raining outside, people are going to say that it's raining. There's really not much more to say once you know it's true, but what does change is the understanding of these basic truths, and how it affects our lives." He proceeded to talk about the Atonement and the role it can take in our lives. My understanding felt enlightened.
Well, I really had a great week! I hope everything is going well with everyone!
Love you guys!


Monday, October 28, 2013

Tucuman - October 28th

Hello Family!
It's always so nice to get a letter from everyone! Thanks all!
Mom, Halloween here is a couple of people hanging their cheap plastic skeletons, a few stores putting up signs saying "HALLOWEEN" and nobody understanding what the heck it is. So... It's pretty basic. Don't worry - I'll celebrate it. I'll buy some candy today and eat it right before our interviews with President on Thursday. 
I did divisions up in Lomas this past week. It was interesting because I went there a few times when it still belonged to us, but this time we went a little further. We went to visit a contact named Marcos I'd made about two months ago, and he started talking to us. I recognized the house, the guy, the dog, everything. Plus he seemed to remember me, too. I did the prayer at the end, asking blessings for Marcos and all his family. We asked if he had any questions before we left and he said, "Just one. Who's Marcos? Is that like some kind of special chosen one or an angel that you include in your prayers or something?" Oops. Sorry Carlos. His house was identical to the house two doors down, and he just happened to have talked to missionaries in the park a couple weeks ago. Still, interesting guy!
We've been visiting a lot two girls named Romina and Ibeth (around 10 and 9). Their parents didn't let them get baptized before because their brothers are all baptized and none of them goes to church. A lot of their extended family is active. We decided that the best way to go is to just get a testimony in the two of them and let them do the parental convincing. It worked! The teaching was really boring at first, but then we started throwing in games, like "Simon Says" to teach obedience, fun signs for the ten commandments, and "Don't Eat Pete" tithing version to teach that. It was great to hear everyone yell every once in a while, "PAY YOUR TITHING!" when the person was about to pick up the coin we'd picked. Their aunt said that they were bugging their parents all week, and when their parents quizzed them, they could answer the questions. It was great! We're really excited for the baptism. Thanks for my history of good Family Home Evenings!
We've been working a lot with Miguel, too. As the week went on, he went on gaining a testimony. Then on Friday, after reading Alma 22-24, he said that he believed in God for sure, but still wasn't sure about Joseph Smith. We taught the restoration again, talking a lot about the Book of Mormon and how it is evidence. After hearing the history of the plates and stuff, he said, "This is going to be really hard for me to believe. Now I'm doubting." Even so, I know that if he keeps reading, all doubt will be lost. I love that book. It's so much easier to do this work with a god-sent piece of evidence.
We helped move a ton of dirt! It was good to get some hard work in there for a bit.
My comp got to give a surprise talk on Sunday. That was fun. It was great to see just how much the people paid attention to him, and the gift of tongues in action.
During one of my comp studies this week we talked a lot about promising blessings when we commit people to do stuff and I realized just how many blessings can be received from living the gospel. It really is incredible how every aspect of our lives can be improved.
Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful week!


Monday, October 21, 2013

Tucuman - October 23rd

It rained a lot this week.
We had a zone training where we talked a lot about the Book of Mormon and played foosball to show the importance of working together with members.
The part that hit me the most is when a sister - a convert - shared her testimony of the Book of Mormon. The missionaries showed up when she had a brain disease. She couldn't comprehend what she read or what people said to her, but she tried reading the Book of Mormon anyway. She said that she couldn't remember anything she read, nor did she know what it was talking about, but every time she read she felt peace, joy, and the love of God with such intensity that it was undeniable. I realized that really the only thing that matters is the spiritual witness of the Book of Mormon. Even Alma only got his testimony after fasting and praying, despite the fact that he'd repented after seeing an angel some time before (Alma 5:40ish). If your testimony isn't based on the Holy Ghost, it will not endure. If you feel like you haven't received that answer, you don't have the real intent. If you feel like you have the intent and you still don't receive an answer, be patient, and step up your game. The answers come. I know it. Because they've come for me time and time again, especially when I have doubts.
Miguel Tula is a guy we found months ago that didn't believe in God. He's the 19-year-old brother of a member. He's been going to church a lot. The first few times he didn't stick around because he "Had stuff to do" and when we pried for information, he admitted that he just didn't like it in the church. Even so, he kept going. And he reads like a madman. He says he believes in God now. We're having a lot of one eighties lately!
Celebration of a year!
Another of the year mark.
Secco Traditional. It's a hard-to-find soda.
We celebrated with candles and muffins the one year marker for me and Elder Espinosa! Thanks for the candles!
Lucas is just really cool. He admitted that the first time he went to church, he thought that he'd never come back. Now, when he had to miss church for a family party his parents forced him to, he said he really just felt bad and wanted so much to just be in church. Plus he's been going out to visit people with us. When we came out of a lesson with a really distressed, lonely lady, he told us to ask her when he could come by again, if only to keep her company. I just love the change that's happened with him. It's incredible.
I had an interview for baptism with a lady this week for my first time. She's read the Bible in Hebrew and said that when she found the church, it was like finding the fulfilling of the prophecies of everything she read. What threw me for a loop is when I asked if she had any questions and she started rattling off some questions about the different tribes and the Lord's covenant with the Israelites.
We talked to a drunk bible scholar. The guy lives in the street, but yet he has a huge store of scripture references memorized and at his command. It inspired me! Not to be a drunk, but to memorize more scriptures.
We went to Villa Carmela! It's a part of our area two buses away that I've only heard legends about for the past five months.
Waiting at the bus stop.
The bus seemed to take forever to get there, but it finally came! We talked to members that hadn't had contact with the church for from 13 to 20 years. It was nuts! We also had a lesson with someone that hadn't found the truth only because she knew not where to find it. We gave her a card about the Book of Mormon and figured we'd come back another time when we weren't in the street to teach a little bit more, but she just started asking question after question that we just taught her the restoration in the street! The look in her eyes was so cool! I'm excited to go back.
Well, that was my really cool week. I hope yours was equally as awesome. And that your scripture study is going well!
Love you all!


Monday, October 14, 2013

Tucuman - October 14th

Hello Family!
This week has been kinda nuts. The land lady took issue to the fact that there are four of us in our apartment now, but legally her hands are tied. Even so, it's been kinda crazy talking to her all week. At least she's finally coming to terms with the fact that we're not leaving any time soon. We're still lacking in furniture, and that's been different, but it's been a good lesson on patience and putting the needs of others first. The great thing is that everyone understands the situation and is being really nice about it. And today we should be getting the furniture we need. Woohoo!
Having the other Elders in the apartment has definitely been different, but it's been a blast! Elder Espinosa is from Colombia, and Elder Rengifo is from Peru. It's fun having latinos around to help us understand more spanish! They're really cool Elders and hard workers.
Lucas's baptism!

Another of the baptism. Bishop's on the right.
So Lucas finally got baptized! Ah! That had to have been one of the happiest days of my mission. Out of no where his schedule started getting complicated. Before, we never had issues with that. Just goes to show that when we finally get close to the truth, Satan steps up his game. On Thursday, a couple hours after he passed his interview, he sent a message saying that he didn't want to get baptized this week. We were worrying about it all day until we finally got to visit him. Turns out there was a problem in High School about people getting invited to the baptism that he didn't want there. Luckily the gospel is much more powerful than teenage drama! The water for the baptism was freezing cold, but Lucas took it really well. After coming out of the water, he said, "That was sweet! Let's do it again!" Then elegantly doggy-paddled out of the font. Ah... It's so nice that he's FINALLY a member. He's been going with us to visit people for months now. Now he can go and share his newfound testimony as well!
So I'm remembering now how much time it took to be district leader. I'm thinking back to my days with Elder Sant when we never ever got to bed on time. It's more responsibility, but with that comes an added help from the Lord.
We had a cool miracle. We got a reference, but every once in a while the streets here are terrible in their numbering. We looked around and asked around, and people said, "Nope, nobody around here. You could try on the other side of this freaky looking canal. They might live over there." So we decided to try it. However, it was not easy to find a way over the freaky looking canal that Elder Lyman dubbed "something like the river from Lehi's dream - Tucumán style." Then we asked a lady and she said, "Hey! The lady you're looking for is my cousin! I'll show you how to get over." As we approached the bridge that I had no clue existed, a kid came riding over on his bike. She called to him. Turns out the kid was the son of the reference. He took us through the dark directly to the house that I'm sure we never would have found otherwise, and the whole family accepted the invitation to be baptized. How did we stumble upon her cousin? How is it that the kid crossed the bridge just in that moment? God knows who's ready for the gospel, and he's willing to guide us there if we let him.
Anyway, that was one of the cooler, although definitely not the only miracle of the week. This work is the best. I hope you're all having a great time participating in your own ways in the work of the Lord. I love you guys a ton!


Monday, October 7, 2013

Tucuman - October 7th

Dear Family,
The internet in northern Argentina went down last Monday from the morning until around 6:00 - just the time when we start proselyting. They posted a message about it on facebook and reassured all the parents that their kids would write next week. I heard they also sent a letter, but it sounds like it didn't make it to you. Either way, I'm just fine! Better than ever, in fact. And there's LOTS to say!
Dad, I'm glad to hear you went to the priesthood session. There are a lot of members here that just watch it on the computer, but it's just not the same as going there in a large body of believers and priesthood holders to put ourselves in a spiritually conducive place. I loved the talk that the first lady gave in conference. It's those kind of women that understand the plan of salvation, and are just really cool. Like mom. Nice job on picking a wife, by the way. I was thinking about your awesome marriage during a lot of conference.
So... Lots of changes. I'm staying right here in Villa Muñecas for this next transfer. But I'm gonna be district leader of us, another companionship that's coming in to share our apartment, the zone leaders, and another companionship that's going in to share their apartment. It'll be fun!
LUCAS IS GETTING BAPTIZED THIS NEXT WEEK! We were sitting there during Bednar's talk and we got a text. "Elders, if you have time, come by my house. I've got some questions about baptism I want to ask before making the decision." I started teaching him my first week here, and he's gone to church almost every Sunday since then, but never wanted to get baptized and never had parental persmission. Well, now he's 18. So we went up, he asked what baptism is, and we told him. He said that he was thinking about the 22 of November, but decided he wanted to do it sooner. So we're gonna do it on Saturday. Woohoo!
Package! And my cool agenda with Caitlin art.
The package was great. I'm loving the music. Hopefully our neighbors haven't been bugged by my EFY. I had a slight scare when I plugged it into the cyber to get the songs organized a bit and the pendrive stopped working, but luckily I got it all copied first! Also, I'm newly addicted to tootsie rolls. I already finished a bag.
I talked to a Californian Jdub in the street the other day! So weird to hear a non-member speak English. The first time I've heard God's name taken in vain in English in a long time. It was a really fun conversation, though!
This week while watching Special Witnesses of Jesus Christ, conference, and studying conference, I gained a new appreciation of prophets. They really are so crucial. I took our mission president's challenge to be completely focused during conference, and not eat, draw, or have other distractions during conference. I had such an amazing experience. I felt... I dunno. It was a powerful spiritual feeling that wasn't quite the same as what I'm used to. It was much more peaceful than I remember feeling normally. With all the stress on the mission, it was very welcome. I just love prophets. I know they really are special witnesses of Him. I don't completely comprehend what that means, but I sure know that the word "special" is much deeper than it looks. I'm really started to realize the value of the church magazines now.
Between sessions we were encouraged to look for people to invite if we couldn't go back to work in our areas from the stake center. We missed the bus right before priesthood session, so we were stuck in the stake area. We looked all over, but there was no one to be found. I did a silent prayer begging for someone to talk to. And from that moment on, there were people running into us up until conference started. It's like they said in conference: if you want missionary opportunities, all ya gotta do is pray.
There was a lot of cool stuff that happened last week, also. We had zone conference where they talked a lot about repentance. Plus I tried to fix the sink after my success with the bed. Bad idea. Things are working now, and it's much cleaner, but I lost about 3 hours and it still drains at turtle speed. Oh well. Worth a shot!
The old district.
There is so much more I want to tell you guys about, but I don't want to make this letter TOO long. Let me just say that I'm still seeing miracles daily. This work is impossible without depending on the Lord. From DVDs that just happen to start working in Spanish, even though they're based in English, to running into people just when they're wondering why there are so many different doctrines, to people testifying of how the Elders stopped a demon haunting, to running into people in the street you thought you'd never see again, to phones starting to work without issues after dropping them in water, to members becoming available just when you need them to come with you, to a taxi driver who offers you a free ride when you're in a hurry, to kids recognizing you and telling you to come meet their families, the miracles of the Lord happen every day in his service. I love you guys so much, and I'm so grateful for your support, your testimonies, and your examples. Thanks for your patience for the letter. Until next week!


Monday, September 23, 2013

Tucuman - September 23rd

Hello my beloved family!
I fixed it with super glue and tape!
So I fixed my comp's bed that collapsed last week! I felt very handymanish.  
We talked to a couple old lady inactives this week. Wow... People just need to get along with their neighbors. Weird how little quibbles can lead to forfeiting eternal exaltation and deciding to go an apostate church. I'm just happy to be a member with a testimony.
We had a great lesson with some really open, smart catholics! When we came back they were really concerned, and asked us if we did blood pacts. I wasn't sure if I understood at first, but apparently they'd heard we do blood pacts. I was happy to report that we don't, and then teach a wonderful Plan of Salvation lesson.
The tie Elder Sant (my trainer who recently went home)
gave me.
I'm getting my package!!!! I´m super excited, hence the excessive use of exclamation points. I´m so excited for new music NOT downloaded from the MoTab conference library!
My comp got kinda sick, so I decided to make food. If I do say so myself, I can cook if I really want to. I made oatmeal, jello, churripan (kinda like bratwurst), and a type of mac and cheese. If you hear something about the noodles being accidentally saturated in salt, just ignore it. They tasted just fine.
While I waited for my comp to get better I got a lot of planning done. Toward the end I was going a little crazy from being inside so long, but the power of pills is wonderful, and it only lasted a day!
We met an awesome catholic guy who said that he would reactivate himself in his church once the priest got married. We had a wonderful eternal marriage conversation and invited him to church. Unfortunately his soon-to-expire marriage with his wife prevents him from changing religion. He already tried once and she got really mad at him. Just makes me happy for the wonderful things the church teaches about the family.
Our apartment - we live in that part up top,
Church was nuts. We went to pick up people we said we'd go with. They seemed surprised when we showed up. "Just a sec, I'll be out in a jiffy!" So we waited. And waited. And waited... Then they came out completely changed. We were late to church, but we were saved by a really awesome member who decided to bring all of her friends to church! Lots of investigators there. Moral of the story - Be ready to go to church, and if you want to make the missionaries REALLY happy, bring lots of non-member friends with you!
Last experience. We had an awesome lesson with a lady this week who just didn't understand the importance of keeping commandments. I thought back on a few similar situations and thought, "she really needs Mosiah 2:41." (And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.) My comp let me know that he wanted to say something and I thought, "But I really want to share this scripture!" I looked over and he already had his BoM open to Mosiah.
Me studying.
Later we talked about it and he told me the thought process he had to get to that scripture. Completely different, but with the same end. The spirit works through mysterious, distinct ways, but if we listen, it'll take us to where we need to be.

Well, I hope you all have a great week! Love you guys!

Our washing machine.
Facturas! They're delicious.

Elder Lyman and Quipes. They're like meatloaf balls.
Elder Lyman in the cyber cafe.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Tucuman - September 16th

Hello Family!
This week was really cool. I quite enjoyed it. Bipolar weather and all. We started off pretty cool, got really hot, then it got really cold and now it's raining. But the work's been great all week!
We started off the week with a guy in a wheel chair that felt really sad and lonely. I was totally just thinking teach him the restoration to let him know that all of God's wonderful truths have been restored and that he can access them all, when my very new companion started in on the plan of salvation. I thought he was crazy, but just went with it. Then my comp shared an experience about his grandma and how she had the same disease the guy had, but with a knowledge of the plan of salvation, she felt happy and had the hope of a perfect body in the resurrection. It was a cool example of teaching to someone's needs, and I felt the spirit testifying through me and through my companion.
I found out that it's really fun to teach about the restoration through the Book of Mormon's history. It testifies of God and Christ (God is our loving Heavenly Father), then starts off with the family of Lehi (the gospel blesses families), prophets testify, baptize, and prophecy of Christ (prophets and dispensations), then Christ comes and organizes his church (earthy ministry of the Savior), but with time the people reject the church and only Moroni's left (apostasy), but the Book of Mormon has been revealed and we have all the truth (restoration)! Cool how the history of the world and the patterns that we teach are mirrored on the both sides of the world.
We found a guy whose house completely burned down on the inside this week. It was really cool to see his attitude. He was so positive and talked a lot about his blessings. It was a little weird when he touched the Book of Mormon and crossed himself, but he was a really cool example of counting blessings in really bad situations.
We found a couple really cool Catholics this week. That are actually ACTIVE. That like, never happens here. It surprised me how much of the truth they've been able to find, even without the help of Christ's true church, and the spiritual experiences they've had in their lives. My comp and I were just talking the other day about how much of the gospel really is found just in the Bible, just not clear without the Book of Mormon. For us, the scripture of those who have not the truth only because they know not where to find it is being fulfilled before our eyes. And now we're here to not only help them find it, but present it to them personally! It's exciting!
Well, I hope you all have a great week!


Monday, September 9, 2013

Tucuman - September 9th

Being senior comp is different. Out of no where my spanish got a lot better. God blesses us, especially when he needs us to do something we are clearly not able to do on our own. I feel a lot more responsibility, but I also feel a lot more able to change and do what I need to do to improve.
Haha! My comp's dad really wanted to go to ComiCon, but his family dragged him to the fair. Speaking of that, when my comp came down, his mom looked up Argentina Salta Mission and found a blog of a missionary waiting in Oregon that came down and now is in Tucuman. The next week she saw her son and his trainer and recognized my name. How crazy is that!?
We had a really cool member take us to visit someone this week. He decided he wanted to share a Book of Mormon with the guy he bought fruit from. So he did! We always know SOMEONE we can share the gospel with!
I gave a really fun talk in church - looking out for our brethren. I talked about a lot of stuff Pres. Kimball said about fellowship in the church and the importance of home teaching. Then I got a little hard on the members and read Matthew 26:40. Not sure what it says exactly in English, but it's like, "You couldn't watch with me even an hour?" In all the time we have in the week, don't we have at least an hour we can use to visit someone, offer help, take them a treat, tell them we care, or do something to help them? If we love the Lord, we feed his sheep. It made me grateful that I have a lot more than an hour to do that. What a great time of life is the mission!
We visited a family where all the five girls are pregnant and their boyfriends fight and steal from one another. Made me grateful for the law of chastity.
We found a super cool lady this week! We started teaching the restoration and she said, "I'm Catholic, but I really want to understand this. Can you explain more?" So we did! She accepted to be baptized and really opened up. We were able to share about the atonement and I felt the spirit so strong. I'm so grateful for that event.
Last experience! We were walking home late last night when a kid came running to us and said, "Hey! That guy wants to talk to you!" I saw the alcohol and knew it was late, but I felt okay about it. So we went up and they said, "Hey! We helped build your church! Do you want some coke? Barbeque? Anything?" I figured we'd take their names, leave a pamphlet, and come back when sober, but there was this little hunchback kid that came out that said, "Excuse me, but would you read this pamphlet for me?" He was so cute and just happened to be called Bryan. We read and I've never seen a bunch of drunk men so quiet. It was such a cool experience.
Anyway, love you all! Hope you all have a great week!


Monday, September 2, 2013

Tucuman - September 2nd

Hey fam!
So I kinda got caught trying to upload fotos and it ate a lot of time... I'll have to be fast again.
We had a miracle this week as I started off bouncing from member to member waiting for my new companion to get here, since I always had to be with someone. We found a drunk guy in the street that stopped us and said, "I want to change, and I feel like I need to talk to you guys." From there, after teaching him a little of the plan of salvation, he said, "I already feel better!" Miracles happen!
Speaking of miracles, there was a lady that stopped us in the street and said that she wanted a pamphet. It's always cool when people talk to us instead of us talking to them!
Our new bishop is really cool! I had a meeting with him and we talked about his vision and plans for the ward. I'm pumped!
Elder Lyman. He´s my new comp.
Elder Lyman's my new comp.
I'm trying to send a pic. He's from Tooele Utah, very gringo, and fresh from the MTC! And really tall. Really cool Elder, and I'm excited to be with him. I was a little surprised because I was one of the younger trainers and one of the few that got a missionary that doesn't already have time on the mission waiting for a visa. It's great!
Lucas... I was thinking about dropping him and then this last Sunday he went up and bore his testimony in sacrament meeting. I'm still not sure if he said that he knows the church and the Book of Mormon are true just because everyone else was doing it or if he really believes it, but we'll see!
We got to take a member with us to testify to Flia Jimenez Garnica  about marriage. Thanks for being a great example of that parents! Makes it easier to testify of the blessings.
I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Brown. Not my comp, but we went to the same school. We graduated together.

Tucuman - August 26th

Hello Dearest Family!

This week was pretty great! We went to Walmart last Monday and printed pictures. There´s another branch of Walmart here called Chango Mas, which is really close to where we live. We can buy just about everything there, but the true Walmart, which is farther away, really does have EVERYTHING. Plus you can print pictures. Speaking of pictures, I forgot to bring my cord today. I´ll send them soon, I promise!
We had a cool miracle this week. The Jimenez-Garnica family that we´ve been teaching for forever (where the dad didn´t want to give permission) had a problem with a neighbor and had to move. We always say, "Whatever you need, call us." Finally someone did! We were able to ask a non-member husband of a less active to lend us his truck, and a former investigator saw us in the street and said he´d come with to help out. Later, the guy with the truck had to go to work, but another member with a mini truck came and we were able to fit it all! The whole family went to Ward Conference this week and had a wonderful experience! For the first time in months of attendance, Brother Jimenez, the dad, went with his family, and Sister Garnica said that she really felt comfortable in church, and like God had really responded! The church is for the family. I´ll keep you updated on them.
We talked to another family this week. They´re members, but going through a divorce. She doesn´t want to go to church because they talk so much about the family and she knows that her family can´t be eternal, and that it hurts to go. I had no clue what to say, but it was amazing to see the Spirit work through me and my companion. We were able to teach about trusting in the Lord and his promises. Although we don´t know everything, we know enough to trust him.
In Ward Conference, lots of great stuff happened! We got a bishop finally, who seems ready to work! We also got a new Ward Mission Leader, that has a ton of desire to work! They also introduced a plan to get the home teaching going. I´m excited!
Birthday cake! A sister made that for me!
My birthday I ate cake. A couple sisters prepared a party for me, but no males could come, so they sent us home with the hot dogs and cake. It was really great of them. I also got to celebrate as dad recommended, inviting people to get baptized. We challenged 2 people that day and they´re preparing for the 21st of September. What a great birthday! Plus I went around showing the picture Caitlin drew of Pres. Monson and told everyone he turned 86 that day. I love prophets!
I studied a lot in the Atonement this week. I love the scriptures! I learned a lot about perseverance and prayer.
On a less spiritual note, we saw a Corvette Z06 and an Audi TT in a super poor part of our area. It was so weird!
Well, that was the week! Oh, and it was transfers today. My companion went to the inner city and I´m staying here... training! I´m leaving for Salta Wednesday to pick up my comp. In the mean time I´ll be hanging around with the zone leaders and members.
I hope you all have a great week!


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tucuman - August 19th

Hello Family!
Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes! It was so nice to read a letter from every one of you! This week we had a zone training, meaning that the mail came!
The district two translados ago!
I got a letter from Russell Taylor. It was so sweet to get a letter from him! If you see him, tell him thanks!
I got to use Taekwon-Do! It's not what you think. There's a kid that goes to the ward here that's a high-yellow belt. While his mom was cutting my comp's hair we did Do-San together. Ah! It was so great! I'm glad my Heavenly Father gave me a chance to use TKD like that on my mission. It truly is the International TKD federation.
After the zone conference, we were super energized to invite everyone to baptism. I was on divisions with Elder Bench, who doesn't speak a whole bunch of Spanish, but we had a great time!
Elder Bench. He´s pretty new. The district leader was
 in my area for quite a while, so we had some good 
bonding moments. He´s only been here a few months, 
but he´s super cool. Also, grido, half the reason I´m so fat.
Asado! Kidney, fat, filled intestine, etc. The other reason I´m so fat.

We invited everyone to get baptized, even if we only talked to them for ten minutes and it was incredible how many people accepted, and told us who else we could invite. It was a day full of little miracles! For example, in addition to what I've already said, the sister that gave us food DIDN'T cook polenta! I´m not exactly sure how to describe polenta, but everyone hates it. I don't mind it, but Elder Bench was super happy. When we went to cross the busy avenues, cars stopped coming. We didn't have to wait to cross the street all day. It was something I've never seen. It's those little miracles that let us know that God is truly a caring father.
The other day we were making contacts when a lady said that she thought that a member lived around the corner. We went to the house and found out that the Young Women's President lived there. Of course, as missionaries, people know we're mormon, but even when you're just a member, people know, and pay attention, even if you don't know it.
I loved using art this week! I cannibalized a gospel art book to be able to carry the pictures in my little pack, and pulled them out on a few contacts. It's so much easier to understand who the prophets are and who Mormon was and where the Book of Mormon comes from and all that when there are pictures to accompany the words. It's interesting to see how captivated people become when you pull out art.
I had a really cool lesson on temples and family history with an ex-gang boss that got baptized a year ago. Incredible how people can change!
In lunch I got to share Alma 47 and the story of Lehonti because the family asked why the war chapters were included. We applied it to their lives and they were super excited to read more! Applying is the secret to loving the scriptures!
Well, that was my week! I hope yours was equally as awesome! Thanks again for the birthday wishes!


Tucuman - August 12th

Dear Family,
I doubt that you guys know just how much influence you have on me from so far away. I love you guys so much and pray for you often!
More asado.
We started this week with another asado (BBQ). I'm starting to think that they might be against the word of wisdom... I've never seen so much meat in my life! There was kidney, filled intestine, blood sausage, and the normal stuff, of course. Honestly, it was cooked to perfection and really good. I felt like I was in rodizio grill!
I'm so grateful to be a member of Christ's true church. We passed a church that said, "Cult services, these days" and this terrible sound of someone singing very off tune about something to do with the gospel was coming from the door. Then we met a bunch of people that were ticked off with the Testigos (JWs) because they didn't permit blood transfusions and someone here almost died... something like that. I'm just glad to not believe in the traditions of man.
I read a part from general conference from Elder Bednar. I realized just how great it is to have a body, and how crucial they are in our eternal progression. It's great to have apostles and prophets to clarify doctrine! Plus they make surprise talks in church much easier (you can guess what happened yesterday. I'm learning to love opportunities like that!)
I got to do... divisions... to work with another elder, Elder Bench. He's fairly new and still talks like a gringo. I realized that my Spanish has come a long way, and I think I'd finally consider myself fluent, although far from perfect. It was really cool to be senior comp for a day! We had a ton of fun together. I have fotos, but I'm not sure I'll have the time to send them this week.
Me and Elder Ortega.
This week, I thought of my wonderful siblings. It's cool to see the blessings we have in our family!
We miraculously found a menos activo... less active. We were walking and felt like we should go to another street. So we did. The person we wanted to visit wasn't there, but this little girl said hi to us. So we started to do the street contact and she got her mom. Turns out she's a member who's been thinking about baptizing her kids this past week. Yesterday she ran into another member and got thinking about it more. Then God sent us to her last night. This work is full of miracles, and I love it!
Well, that's my time, but I want you all to know that you're so very wonderful and a great help for me. Until next week!


Monday, August 5, 2013

Tucuman - August 5th

Hey Fam!
Wow! Are we ever seeing the influence of husbands lately! We had a lesson last Monday with a really cool, really open, really prepared lady. Then her husband told us never to come back ever. We also talked to a lady that was really active until she married a non-member that didn't want much to do with the church. She started focusing more on work and hasn't gone to church in years. I know the stories sound kinda negative, but the spirit was so strong when we were talking to those ladies. It just made me realize how important it is to choose someone to marry that is just as spiritually strong as yourself if not stronger, or else it could have some bad consequences.
On a brighter note that has to do with husbands, we're teaching one that's FINALLY coming around! Remember those two girls whose dad doesn't want to give them permission? Well Friday, after around 2 months of trying to help her, their mom received the answer to her prayer. It was like a night and day difference. She was so full of doubts and reluctant to accept anything, then it just changed. We had a lesson with the kids' primary teacher, and she got talking to the mom and shared her conversion story. The next day, Hna. Jimenez (the mom) was completely different. It was amazing! We starting talking to her husband about marriage and giving permission to get baptized and such. The Spirit is so much stronger with the two of us, his three kids, and his wife all helping to convince him to listen to the promptings of the spirit! Families are designed by God. I know it.
Us and the young men and women, including Lucas in the hoodie.
Lucas passed his classes! We asked him what was different about this time and the past two years that he's tried to pass them. He said that he prayed. How powerful is something simple like that! We're trying to help him to recognize that as an answer to his prayers, and relate it with his question about baptism. He'll come around!
There's been a change of temperature, and I got a lot of bloody noses this week, but it's okay because the week ended amazingly! We had 13 investigatos in Sacrament meeting, and all the less actives decided to come. Attendance was around double--almost 100 people! Plus I was happy because we got to our investigators in the morning before the evangelist bus that drives around picking up kids to take them to some apostate church where they brainwash kids - but we got there first! Mwahahaha!
We talked to a guy this week who really believed in transsubstantiation with the sacrament. It got me thinking about all the crazy deep doctrines Satan's invented and how grateful I am to be teaching the pure teachings of Jesus, and to be part of His true church where there is never any error in the revelation nor doctrine.
Anyway, I love you guys! I hope you're all as well as you sound!


Monday, July 29, 2013

Tucuman -July 29th

Hello Family!
This past week was quite wonderful. We didn't have any of the 5 baptisms we were hoping for, but they'll get there eventually, I have no doubt! Sara (with the dentist and the smoking problem) had a brother that she hasn't seen in 15 years come to visit, so wasn't home almost at all. Carlos, a "dry member" that´s been going to church for years and finally decided to get baptized went on a surprise vacation. The father of two girls that want to get baptized was really stubborn, and refused to give permission, despite every effort from us, the district leader, and the zone leaders, too. David, the father of the girl that passed away, is super ready, and as soon as he gets back from visiting family in Buenos Aires, we have his baptism planned! Satan does a lot to stop people from getting baptized, but only because the blessings are so huge. I'm consoled in the fact that God always wins out in the end.
I want you to know that you guys answered my prayers this past week. I always love getting your letters because you're all so wonderful, but when I read one last week about trials and challenges, it really helped me refocus and get a better attitude. That, combined with the president's letter and a talk from Elder Cook that I remembered - "It's better to look up," made this last week great! I also studied a bit about pioneers and how they took their trials as a way to grow closer to God. The mission is great. My leaders have been a huge support for me lately, and we found a really cool 8 year old that was so happy she was on the verge of bursting into laughter every second. Mosiah 3:19 to mind. (For the anatural bman is an cenemy to God, and has been from the dfall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he eyields to the enticings of the fHoly Spirit, and gputteth off the hnatural man and becometh a isaint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a jchildksubmissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.) Despite the below freezing temperatures and other stuff going on, it was so cool to remember my Savior and the importance of doing this work with good cheer (D&C 123:17)
Anyway, we had two great asados this week. It´s like... a grill. Lots of meat. Really tasty. I like Argentina!
We had a cool lesson with an investigator that we've been trying to get to the church. Her 10 year old nephew came with us, and wow! His testimony was fantastic! "I love going to church and reading my scriptures because every time I do it, I feel the Spirit and I know it, and even though I sometimes don't go because my mom sleeps in, I know it's true." Kids are awesome! And as a side note, thanks for never sleeping in parents!
We did double divisions this week. I went with the district leader, then with a zone leader. Being away from my companion a bit helped me to realize how much I've learned and applied from his example. I've become much more insistent, much more excited, and my Spanish has gotten TONS better during my time with him. God knows what he's doing, and has this work organized down to every companionship.
Well, that's what I experienced this week. There's always lots of miracles and great things going on, and I know that if we take the time to be happy and notice them, we'll be blessed richly from our loving Father. Hope you all have a great week!