Monday, January 13, 2014

Libertador General San Martin (Ledesma), Salta - January 13, 2014

Hello family!
One of my favorite quotes from Elder Holland's Thanksgiving talk from the MTC (Which can be found in the December Liahona - it was given for the first time like 20 years ago) was "I hate it when missionaries say that they're going to go home and return to real life. Well guess what? This IS real life! Your life won't get any more real than this. The life you left behind was your fake life." Ya gotta love Elder Holland!
So I went to Salta this week to do paperwork, and I'll have to go back tomorrow to finish up the rest of the paperwork. Woohoo for paperwork! It was fun to see a bunch of guys from my group that came with me. Plus we now have a cell phone! I no longer have to use crappy phone cabins! It's wonderful.
I found a bread store that sold doughnuts. Still not quite US quality, but better than the ones I found in Tucuman!
We had a cool miracle Tuesday. We were trying to get all the details worked out for the Salta trip in the morning, which is always fun without a phone. We lost a lot of time there. We also weren't going to have much time in the evening because I was on a bus for around 3-4 hours. During that hour or two that we had to work, all of our plans and appointments fell through. We decided to swing by the house of converts that were almost never home. And guess what? They were home! Including one of the converts that had moved to a nearby city without missionaries! It was a great thing to talk to them and try to rekindle a little their testimonies.
I found a baby scorpion on my pants. Not dangerous at all, but kinda cool!
So on buses it's really hard to avoid the movies. They turn them up really loud, so you can't sleep, and they turn out all the lights, so you can't read. The landscape is all the same, so you always end up catching something of the movie. But I was able to notice something really cool! In the two movies they played (one called Jump the Broom and another I remember seeing commercials for - Killers) the characters got married! It was kinda cool to see that in Hollywood the Law of Chastity isn't completely dead!
This past week we had something of a bug going around. Nothing bad, but longer bathroom visits for all of us. So of course our neighbor decided to give us a TON of chocolate cake. It was delicious! And the pieces she served were huge! But it made for an interesting day to be sure.
We stopped by unplanned to visit a Sister that used to be really active a few years ago. The last time I swung by she said that she didn't like the people in the ward, and that she was going to move to Salta soon anyway. This time we swung by again and we got a little deeper into the reason she went inactive. After serving her mission, she came back and worked a lot in the church. She made some sacrifices to be able to fulfill her calling and things like that. As the years went by she had relationship problems and issues with studies, and in the end, she decided that the blessings that she was promised on her mission never came. It just made me realize that no matter how much good we do and how much dedication we put in our service to the Lord, we won't always be blessed immediately. In fact, we may recieve trials instead of the imagined blessings. But something I know is that no matter what comes, God will fulfill his promises. Sometimes we'll have to put in practice our patience, but the blessings come. It was nice to feel the Spirit testify to all of us there when we talked about that of the truth of that prinicple.
Right after that we went to a guy who has a testimony, wants to join the church, but doesn't want to leave his girlfriend. It was amazing to see how Elder Burr was able to use one of his past experiences to help him see the importance of putting the Lord first. It's just a nice reminder that where we are assigned in the mission and the people we talk to aren't things of chance, rather that all is divinely orchestrated so that our Heavenly Father can use the experiences we've had to serve his other children.
It rained again really hard! Luckily it was Saturday, so it didn't affect church. We walked out of lunch and somebody up there must love us, because a taxi passed by shortly just before the rain picked up. Plus I used my boots for the first time. I felt awesome, like I could step on anything.
I love the little miracles! We left in the evening Friday and it was really hot. We went to contact a reference and he said, "You guys look really hot. Have some free bottled water!" God is good.
Pablo went to church! Pablo is a really cool investigator that we've been teaching since my first day here. He's been completing every commitment, except for church attendance. Everytime it was a different excuse, and there were a couple times when I was on the point of giving up, but yesterday he went!
Argentine Political Correctness
I had a surprise talk on Sunday! Our branch president has gotten into the habit of telling the missionaries during Sunday School that they're going to talk. I ended up talking about home teaching, using a little of President Monson's talk, but I think what really got the members' attention was when I talked about my own home teacher and how cool he is. I told them that for my birthday, I received a letter from Russell, which he would have had to have sent two months before. It really is a pretty inspiring example of the dedication of a home teacher. He really is a really awesome guy. What's he up to these days?
Anyway, I hope everything's great back there. How's the cold? Everyone's asking me if my family´s dying in -50 degree temperatures. Looking forward to hearing from you next week!

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