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!

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