Monday, March 31, 2014

Salta, Mitre 1 - March 31, 2014

Hello My Beloved Family!
I'm sending pictures finally! It was an incredible week! My new assignment is junior comp of the assistants, or assistant to the assistant. I'm the second guinea pig that's had this assignment recently. Basically I'm like any other missionary, but working in the area of the assistants. Plus I get to go to all the meetings they go to and verify with the zone leaders.

Our really awesome house in a rich neighborhood
15 minutes from the area.

My area, Mitre 1, is huge. We're right up against the edge of a mountain. All the assistants lose weight because you get winded walking to the houses of the investigators. We have to take a taxi every day to get there, and in the end, we spent about 20 bucks daily to go there and back. I'm living here in Tres Cerritos, the really rich neighborhood where president lives and where the offices are. 
Our backyard! They're really rare here.
My companions are Elder Inman and Elder Alvarez. Elder Inman is from California, and has 5 weeks left on the mission here. That plus his 7 months as a temporary missionary in California gives him almost two and a half years of experience. He's awesome! Elder Alvarez is from Mexico, more down south. He's got 11 weeks left, and already knows a lot of the area due to the fact he spent 8 months in the offices as the guy in charge of all the apartments. I'm in a threesome. We still haven't started in on exchanges so that we can get to know the area, but when that time comes I'll probably stay here with a member while the other two travel. While I live in the heart of Salta, I'm working near the fringes, so it's not too hard. The people are great! The office is really fun. Since I don't actually work here, I still have lots of time to work in the area, but I still get to know what's going on in the mission. Especially since I get to sit in on the meetings! Pres. Levrino goes home in eleven weeks, same time as Elder Alvarez. 
Okay, so I've been completely exhausted this week between the exercises and the geography of the area, but it's worth it! I feel healthier!
I got to go in President's truck to pick up newbies! I'm so glad I don't have to drive in Argentina. It was really weird sitting in with the new missionaries that didn't know how to talk and stuff. It made me realize just how much experience I've gained and made me grateful that I still have time on the mission to do stuff.
We're teaching a really intelligent family from Colombia. The mom, Vivian, asked during the second lesson (Plan of Salvation) about if Christ had a wife, why he had to suffer for the sins, what were the specifics of the law of chastity (keep in mind we hadn't taught it) and a bunch of other stuff. The next day we asked her 10 year old son what baptism was, he said "A covenant with God to clean sins. But my sister doesn't need to get baptized. She's too young and still doesn't know." Just to let you know, there are people who are VERY prepared out there!
It's so cool teaching with the assistants. It's weird in a trio, but they teach so well to the understanding of the people, making sure they really get it and are committed to do things before moving on. I've come to realize that they're not perfect, nor nearly as close as I thought that assistants were, but they seem to be able to apply faster the things that President's trying to teach in the mission. 
We had a baptism this week! I don't feel too bad taking a freebee, since I left two baptisms in Ledesma. She's a 14 year old girl named Lorena. She didn't have a lot of opposition from the family, but they didn't sign the permission easily. The thing that made the difference was her assurance. She told her parents that she'd prayed, and gotten an answer from God. She isn't a gospel scholar, but she had such a surety of feeling that nothing could disuade her. I've been thinking a lot about the importance of feelings this week. It's interesting how the gospel works in that way. I payed a lot of attention to my feelings during the baptism. It wasn't anything overwhelming, but the Holy Ghost brings peace. Not a worldly peace - I could still remember all my problems and such - but I felt a conviction that I could overcome it. I think that's the peace that God gives us.
My companions! Elder Inman from California and
Elder Alvarez from Mexico.
Elder Inman is such an awesome example of diligence! Sometimes all the appointments fall through. I learned that it happens to the assistants, too. We were looking all over, talking to everyone, but no one was home and it was late. Finally we found a lady that had no interest in talking to us. We were all really tired, but the moment we got to the house Elder Inman pulled out an energy reserve from nowhere. He was just so happy and excited that she let us in and we talked to all the family! It's like Elder Ballard said, we need missionaries that are up in flames that infect all the other missionaries and the members. I'm so lucky to have companions like that!
Salta is just gorgeous! I love being here.
General Conference is next week!!! I'm so excited! We're inviting everyone! Get prepared with questions and problems and bring a friend!! It'll be awesome! I love having modern day prophets! I'm so glad to hear that you'll miss the baseball game instead of missing Priesthood! I gave a talk about that on Sunday, since all the newbies get a chance to do that. I talked about an article in the New Era from March when it said "Don't Miss the Call" and how it talked about that even though we can always just watch it later, it's always good to try to be there when it's happening. I talked about when I went to judge debate, and how that even though I watched it later and felt the spirit, I still missed that historic moment of surprise watching the conference live when the age was dropped. When we put God in first priority, he'll bless us even more.
Have a great week!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Salta, Mitre 1 - March 25th, 2014

Hello Dearest Family!
So... Surprise! I'm here in Salta. Zone leaders always call the night of transfers around 10:00 and the buses leave around 6 in the morning. They told me I was going to Mitre 1 or 2, and was going to be with a Elder Purser. I knew that Mitre 1 was the assistants, and the name of my comp was not an assistant, rather someone that had around a year left, so I figured I was just going to be working in Salta. I was very confused when I got here. I was asking around for the Elder Purser they'd told me and no one knew him. Turns out he's in Santiago way down south. I got here and President pulled me in for an interview. Turns our I'm going to be the assistant to the assistants or something to that effect. Since they're always traveling and stuff like that they want someone who can stay in the area. Plus there's an odd number of missionaries, and President said if there's got to be a trio companionship, might as well do some leadership training. So I'm here living in the giant offices apartment... house. It's a house. With a really big backyard and in the middle of a super rich neighborhood. I live around 20 minutes from the area going in a taxi. I got a taste of the area yesterday. The assistants were busy and a bunch of missionaries about to go home wanted to visit some converts, so they sent me with them to visit people. We received a lot of food. The area is a hill. Or lots of hills. Imagine the mountain behind our house. Now imagine houses there, but with the same hiking trails. Yep. That's kinda like what it is. But anyway, on to my last week in Ledesma.
Tuesday we had an awesome zone conference. President Levrino trained us on what Elder Ballard had said in the conference for mission presidents. We truly have prophets on earth today. The points he addressed were the things that every missionary worries about - how do I spend less time in lessons, how do I help members with whatever, how is it possible to talk to everyone in the time we have, etc. There were a bunch. For every question a missionary could ask, President pulled an answer out of Elder Ballard's talk. I think my favorite part was when he was talking about the importance of talking to everyone. He committed us to do at least ten contacts per day. After asking "Will you do it? Are you sure?" He told us, "Okay. Go do it." Everyone kinda just sat there for a second until we realized that we were going to take a recess from zone conference and go and talk to people. Elder Burr and I talked to the first person we saw. He was really awesome! Recently joined a Christian church and wanted to have an appointment as soon as possible! It was really cool. To me it was like a divine message saying that this really is what we need to be doing to hasten the work. Something I love that President said is that the hastening isn't so much a change in action or thought, rather a change in feeling. We have to really feel the urgency of the work if we hope to do what the Lord wants.
Lucas Fregenal from Tucuman wrote me the other day! He's waking up early every Sunday to go on his own. He's already got the priesthood and everything seems to be great from the letter he sent me! It's always fun to hear from converts.
Quick miracle! On the way back from Zone conference, the border patrol stopped us and started checking passports. Normally, we'd all be legal, but since papers are often lost by the Argentine government and visa processes can take forever, there's quite a few missionaries here on expired tourist visas. When the border patrol got to the first sister he asked "What are you guys?" She explained that we're missionaries. He asked, "All of these people are in the same group?" Yep! So he passed by without checking any of our documents. The Lord loves us, and he'll do what it takes to keep his work moving.
We found a con artist this week! Kinda interesting. We talked to him in the street and he said he'd been baptized in Salta and recently moved there. We went and had a lesson with his family. He talked a lot about his ward in Salta, about the missionaries that baptized him, and all that kind of stuff. Looking back on it, the lesson had kind of a weird feeling to it. The next day we asked the wife of the branch president to come with us. She just laughed and told us not to go. Apparently he posed as a member around 5 years ago to rob church welfare. He was pretty convincing, but working with members and the spirit, you can't go wrong!
Two senior missionaries visited us this week! They installed a water purifier and fixed all our broken pipes! It was pretty great.
Haha! Okay, this contact was too good not to share. Of course, we find the elect when we talk to everyone, but we also talk to people who aren't so prepared, which can also be really fun. We found a guy who said that he wasn't interested because he drinks, smokes, commits adultery, and all kinds of stuff like that. Elder Burr asked him, "Brother, do you feel good doing stuff like that?" He said yes. So Elder Burr asked "And what about the life after?" The guy replied that no one knew about the life after. Elder Burr told him that yes we knew. The guy reaffirmed that we couldn't know unless we'd experienced it. Then he said, "Tell ya what, just go and die, and if you come back tomorrow I'll believe you." I couldn't help but laugh. I dunno, the phrase "go die" in Spanish is just kinda funny. Maybe you had to be there. Anyway...
Remember Alejandro, the guy that felt the spirit 20 years ago? Well we had a lesson! When we got to prophets, he said, "Wait, we have a prophet today? What's his name? I'm gonna go Google him as soon as you leave!" He was just so excited! Which is always really cool for someone who lives in a richer part of town. It's always fun to find people who are just ready.
The last visit in Ledesma was cool. We had an appointment with a family, but we figured it might be good to have a member. We passed by, and the member that we were planning on didn't want to come, but her boyfriend Emanuel said he would! When we got to the house, the husband wasn't home. Had it not been for Emanuel, we wouldn't have been able to go in and teach. We had no intention of bringing a male member, because there should have been a male in the house and the nearest male member was kinda far away. I just love the little miracles like that!
Anyway, that was my week. It was pretty cool. I'm sure I'll have lots to say this next week as well!
Love you guys!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Salta - March 24, 2014

Hey Family!
So transfers brought a really strange surprise. I'm going to have to tell you more about that tomorrow. To be short, I'm in Salta. I'm kinda like acompanying the assistants for a bit. I'll write more tomorrow! Have a great day!
Elder Willey

Libertador General San Martin (Ledesma), Salta - March 17, 2014

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
I admit, I forgot to wear a green tie. I'm gonna have to change it when I get back to the apartment.
We watched the 20 minute Joseph Smith movie a couple times this week. I love that. What better way to explain the restoration than seeing it? I always try to see if I can find something new, since we watch it so much. I love how in the movie, they're always working in every part in lots of different chores, yet even so, they always find time to read and pray, personally and in family. That was a fun thing to find!
I was thinking during a lesson the other day just how grateful I am for my parents. The lady was talking about how she had a short temper, and knew that it wasn't good for her kids, and I just realized how wonderful it's been to not only grow up in the gospel, but to have parents that lived the gospel.
We had branch council this week. I was on exchanges with the zone leader, and it was really fun to show off. The branch here is really working great! They've decided that our progress record we present every week is the way to work. Using that, they decide who will visit who, and it really makes it so that the members and missionaries are united. Our branch president really has a sense of the urgency of the work, and it's fun to see how he's just infecting the whole branch!
Lots of drunk guys this week. On Pi day, not sure why, but there were a ton. Every other morning we help our neighbor in a wheel chair go down two flights of stairs so the ambulence can take him to dialasis. On Friday, the knock on the door in the morning sounded a little more urgent. Two happy drunk guys were coming up the stairs to help him out. They really did mean well, but in trying to help, they almost knocked him down the stairs. Luckily, we were there and the male nurse also helped out a lot. Drinking is just bad for you. Even if you want to do good things, alcohol will mess you up to the point where you can't do anything.
The wife of the branch president is just really cool. She came the other day to acompany us to a visit, and decided to bring... a pastry. Bread stuff does not translate. It was some quality fellowshipping! Then she just happened to show up in one of our visits to come help us out. Unplanned. It was awesome. Talk about catching the missionary spirit!
We found a less active member! We were looking for a reference and knocked into him. We didn't realize at first that he was a member, so we just thought we'd found a really prepared person. As he kept talking during the lesson, I caught a couple words in between his evangelist-sounded speak that were just too LDS to be missed, like member, the church, etc. We asked if he'd been baptized. He said yes. It was better for me than for my comp. I went from involved former investigator to member. Elder Burr went straight from Golden Investigator to less active. Kinda funny.
Prophets are really cool. We finally got our hands on a February and March Liahona. Also, in Fraile (the other branch we sometimes go to), I got to give a talk on prophets. I'm just so grateful for that guidance. The way their words are becoming more and more available is just great. And the new format of the church magazines are fun!
One more! We found a guy named Alejandro. He said he talked to missionaries 20 years ago, but didn't remember hardly anything. He said that all he could remember was that they showed him a passage in the Book of Mormon, he read it, and felt a special kind of peace. He was surprised when the missionary asked him what he felt. He described it, and the missionary identified it as the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost really is the real teacher in this work. I know that this is God's work, that he is hastening his work, making that members and missionaries work together. I know that he is directly involved.
Thanks so much for writing me! I always love it when I get a little something from everyone! Have a great week!
Elder Willey

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Libertador General San Martin (Ledesma), Salta - March 10, 2014

Hello My Ever-Beloved Family!

Last P-day I cooked up a BBQ burger and learned a little Russian from Elder Fewel. It was pretty cool!
So there were many many members that came with us this week! It was great! They're really starting to catch the whole hastening spirit! The branch president's wife came out with us a few times. She was more set on getting into houses than we were - mostly because she didn't really pay attention to the whole "there has to be an adult male" rule, but even so, it was amazing! She even stopped a few friends in the street with something like this - "George! I haven´t seen you since elementary school! Where do you live now? Let me present my friends! Elders, what day are we going to be close so we can go visit my friend?" Member missionarywork just rocks! We also had a younger 19-year-old that came out with us when all our plans fell through. We jokingly asked her where to go and she said, "Let´s go visit my aunt!" We're ALWAYS trying to visit her aunt, but her aunt is never home. So we went and, lo and behold, her aunt was home! Members can receive revelation, and it's so very wonderful! Another story! The seminary teacher saw that one of our investigators was seminary age, so she asked us when she could come with us. We set the appointment and she came and gave her seminary recruiting bit. I've never seen the investigator so excited before! It was just cool! As a missionary, you're always dealing with different schedules and worrying about if people will be there, if they'll have read, if you'll be able to get into the house, etc. The fact that the members are setting times with US instead of us setting times with THEM, and providing their own backup plans instead of getting all sad when the appointments fall through is just amazing me. Truly, the Lord is hastening his work.
Okay, one more cool member story! Nico - the branch president's son - came to our district meeting. It was kinda unexpected, but really cool. Great mission prep for him, and great member perspective for us. It was cool to work with him to see how we could use members more effectively as we teach people and commit them to live the commandments. It's like what the prophets are saying - when members and missionaries work together, they´ll see their own personal miracles.
Even so, there are some major perks to being a full time missionary instead of a member missionary. Tuesday we had to go to the church for an activity. On the way, a less active gave us a free tortilla and a taxi driver gave us a free ride. Having people you know and who recognize you as a servant of Jesus Christ is just fun. Clearly, the recognition isn't the important part, but it's still fun!
Okay, another member story. This week was just full of them. We went to visit a less active. We asked who else could join us in the lesson. He said no one was home. He had left the door open. Just in that moment, a friend of his walked past and said hi. The member immediately, without our asking, went to shake his hand and almost dragged him into the house - "Here's my missionary friends! Take a seat, they're going to teach us about Christ!" It made me very happy!
A less active this week asked us to go give a blessing to a friend in the branch. We let him know that the branch president already went. He doesn't exactly get along with the branch president, so asked us to go because we were "more pure." That was a great opportunity to testify of the power of the priesthood. Really, it doesn't matter who we are or where we're from; if we worthily hold the priesthood of God, he will respect that power, from newly ordained Elder to Apostle or Prophet, the power of God doesn't change, and so long as the conduit is clean, by their faith they will be healed. It was kinda a moment to realize just how amazing the power of the priesthood is, and what it is exactly that God has trusted us to hold.
We helped make bollos! It´s like... a big circle of bread. There was a big machine that looked like two big rolling pins. You had to crank them to take the air out of the dough. My comp and I got there just in time to help out! Service is always fun!
We talked to a less active this week that always drives me nuts. First she said she couldn't go to church because she had to take care of her dogs. This time, she told us that she'd never be able to go to the temple, because she couldn't stop the tradition of drinking a little alcohol on Christmas or a little coffee when it gets cold. It was an oportunity to be able to testify of the atonement of Jesus Christ. It's exactly for those reasons that he died for us. None of us are perfect, and sometimes the problems are just small ones, but if we really believe in Christ and what he did, we can be made whole and receive his divine grace. I really felt like I was fulfilling my missionary calling when I was able to testify of that to her.
They changed all the scripture masteries on me. If you have the time, it's interesting to see what's the same and what they decided to change.
To finish it off, I know that reading scriptures daily helps us. It's something that so many people don't understand! It's always, "No, I didn't have time - I was super busy with this and that and another thing." It really doesn't matter what else we have to do. Even if it's just a little scripture to apply it to your life, it's worth it.
Anyway, I love you all and hope that you all have a wonderful Pî Day! Keep praying for daily missionary opportunities!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Libertador General San Martin (Ledesma), Salta - March 3, 2014

Hello Family!
Happy Carnaval! Still not quite entirely sure why it´s okay to worship
Satan here as a national holiday, but more of that later. As a
consequence of carnaval, all the good cyber cafes are closed, so we´re
in this place. Might be a little shorter than usual.
Anyway, this week was a little different in the sense that Elder
Ballard challenged every missionary to contact ten people every day.
It´s not easy. You find a lot more people that just want to reject
you, but for every person that does that, there´s another really great
person close by! We found a ton of great people this week! Including a
family that lives around the corner from us. They listened to the
missionaries a LONG time ago (you can tell because they talk about the
sisters and there haven´t been sisters here for 20 years). Even so,
they´re always super excited to listen to us and all focus in when we
talk. It´s pretty great.
Faith has been an interesting concept lately. It´s something we´re
trying to improve in the district. Faith to get into doors, faith to
find people, faith to reach goals. It´s interesting, but when you
really believe that you can do something and put in all the effort you
can, insisting and bearing testimony a few times more even though they
say NO very firmly, it´s great to see how many places you can get
Something that hit me in our branch council this week was the urgency
of this work. We´ve been hearing a lot about that lately, but our
branch president helped us realize, why is it so urgent? No one knows
when the second coming will be, but what other reason could there be
that this work is so urgent. It was one of the first times in my life
when I considered just how close the return of the Savior could be,
and, as a consequence, just how important it is to share the gospel
NOW. We´ve talked to a couple families to challenge them to have a
family missionary council. That was another fun Elder Ballard idea.
We watched Legacy during one of the lunches this week. Kinda
interesting to see the part where the dad´s doing missionarywork.
Little bit different. Nowadays we can give out copies of the Book of
Mormon for free, we have cell phones to call and invite people to
whatever, we can e-mail our families, we can travel in planes. Not to
mention that the filmography in today´s world is much better than when
Legacy was filmed. The Lord is hastening his work!
We knocked on a super rich person´s house. Their doorbell had a
protective case. There was a winding stone path leading from the gate
to the door. A very cute golden retriever was the only one to answer.
He came walking in a type of zig-zag way on the path, not wanting to
walk on the grass. It made me laugh. Dogs like that are very rare in
Argentina. Just figured that was worth sharing.
One of the highlights of my week was talking to a gothic lookin´ guy.
We went to contact an investigator and his roommate(?) answered. I was
kinda just thinking that we´d move on to the next plan, but we decided
to make the contact. As we asked about his religious beliefs, he told
us that he believed in God, but was more a worshipper of "his Lord" -
Saint Death. I always see those shrines in the street, but I´ve never
talked to a follower. Saint Death is basically the Grim Reaper and
some Argentines have decided that he should be worshipped like a
catholic saint, like any other virgin or crazy dead saint. He talked
about how he made pacts with Saint Death to get good grades, have
friends, avoid robbers, etc. All he had to do was pray to him, take
flowers to the shrine, and light candles near the statues. It was
kinda creepy, but we used it as a way to talk about covenants and set
a return appointment.
Families are just really cool. We found a few this week. One kid named
Lazarus contacted US in the street. That was fun. He invited us to
talk to his family, but they were busy. We went back the next day to
find out that Lazarus wasn´t even their kid and didn´t live in the
house he had told us. He was just a friend of their son. They were a
little reluctantin the beginning, but we got in and wrangled up all
the family. Lessons are so much more powerful when all the family is
there! I know that God´s plan is centered on them, and that as we
strive to live the gospel in our families and share it with other
families around us, we´ll have more joy than by doing any other thing.
Anyway, I love all you guys and I hope you have a great week!

Libertador General San Martin (Ledesma), Salta - February 24, 2014

Hello Dearest Family!

Wow. Everyone sounds super busy. We had district conference this week. It was kinda the highlight of the week. I've never heard anyone talk so strongly to members. More of that later, but the question came to mind while President Levrino was talking to a bunch of people about excuses, how are our family prayers? Family home evening? Family scripture studies? Missionary work? I don't want to be the crazy annoying missionary that.... drops cane.... retar... there aren't words for this! Grr... to tell you off? I don't want to tell you guys off or anything like that, but just wanted to see how we are. He talked about how there are so many families that don't do the little things, the "latter-day saint traditions" for all kinds of excuses - my kids are never home for family night, my kids don't sit still for the prayer, they can't focus on the scriptures, they're too little and take forever to get ready for church, fasting hurts my head and makes me sick, etc. He talked about how the excuses are the reasons for which we have to fulfill the commandments. Self-justification is the opposite of repentance, which is also necessary for the sins of omission. Anyway, love to know how we are in that! Thanks for always doing those things growing up with me. It's so much easier to bear testimony of something I've done.
So another part of the conference was technology. Elder Ballard gave a talk in Buenos Aires and talked about how important is the hastening of the work, and that there have never been so many missionaires and that there never WILL BE as many missionaries. The hastening isn't starting, it's in full force, and we have to take advantage now. In between the leaders and the general session of District Conference, Pres. Levrino challenged us to use our technology and smart phones to invite someone to the conference. It was pretty cool. As I was sitting in the cyber cafe last week, I realized just how dangerous technology can be in subtle ways. There were little kids wasting their lives away on violent games, and thirty-something-year-olds facebook stalking 15-year-olds. It's crazy what it can do. So it was really great when President Levrino reminded us all of the true purpose of all this new technology - to do missionarywork more efficiently. He also transmitted the Elder Ballard Challange to invite one person to the church - member or not (same as his Christmas challenge) before the conference and every sixty days. It's pretty crazy, this era of missionarywork!
We passed by the house of a less active that had moved down south this week. His mom answered and very kindly told us in almost these exact words, thank you, but I'm Catholic, I'm not interested, and I really don't want your visit. So we started asking about how we could get in contact with her son and about her life, and she started to talk. And talk. And talk. And we just listened. It was kinda cool to see the way that she changed while she talked. As she shared spiritual experiences in her life, the Spirit started to have an influence on her, and by the end, she agreed to a second visit. Miracles are great!
We were talking to the dad of a recent convert. He's old and didn't understand much. The best part was when his daughter bore her testimony. There are few things more powerful than the testimony of a family member. It was amazing to see how quickly the spirit was invited.
We did exchanges with Yuto this week! We were trying to decide if we should pay more to leave earlier or not. We weren't running exactly late, but we were cutting it close. We decided to leave early. We got there just as the other bus was pulling out fifteen minutes early. The Elders from Yuto had gotten there a little earlier than planned as well. We made the bus! The buses in Yuto always leave late, and had we missed the bus, we'd have had to have waited another 2 hours for the next one, or paid about 3 times the price to go in a taxi. The Lord is in the details of his work.
There was a movie night in the church. It takes us a while to walk there and it's often hard because people don't show up sometimes. We decided to put forth a little faith and go. No one showed up. We were about to leave when a less active and his girlfriend came! We took advantage to teach her a bit. It was a super great lesson!
We ate an ice cream cake. It was delicious. Not much more to say about that, but it felt like a notable event of the week.
We contacted a guy from London! We were walking by and I heard him say something in English. I couldn't pass up an opportunity like that. It was really interesting, but it's SUPER hard to talk about the gospel in English.
So more about the conference. President Levrino is very direct. He focused his talk on justification and the basic commandments, especially the Sabbath day. The best part of his talk was when he was talking about the sacrament and said something to the effect of, "If we don't take the sacrament, we undervalue His sacrifice. It's as if we said to Christ, your sacrifice doesn't matter to me. You can go die again for all I care." The members sat there in a shocked silence. I did too, for that matter. The sabbath day is just so important. We can't just ignore the commandments of God. Besides, he went on to talk about all the MANY blessings for fulfilling the sabbath day - health, peace, and every necessary thing, like it says in D&C 59.
Anyway, I love you all and I'm so grateful for your testimonies and your support! Hope you have a great week! Don't forget, if everything is really hard and crazy, don´t forget the little things (prayer, scriptures, etc.)!

Libertador General San Martin (Ledesma), Salta - February 17, 2014

Dear Family,
That's really sad to hear about Gadget. Granted, I already said my goodbyes over a year ago, because I was pretty dang sure I'd never see him again, but still sad. 
So Monday was Elder Fewel's Birthday (who lives in our pension). We had some really yummy pancake covered oreos! I didn't know those existed, but it was a fun way to celebrate!
Pablo got baptized! I'm so happy! It was really great! There were a lot of kids playing soccer just before the baptism, and so we invited them all in to see it. It was a great experience. He was extremely prepared for it. I gave one of the talks on the Holy Ghost. I just happened to have an umbrella, a towel, and a cell phone. I gave a modified version of the talk Grandma Clark gave at my baptism. It may have been a little juvenile for a 40-year-old guy and a bunch of 15-year-olds sweating from soccer, but I still enjoyed it! Brought back great memories of my baptism.
We had our weekly Family night this week again. Lots of people showed up! It's so great that people are finally starting to come! Enduring really has its pay-offs. We also started a movie night on Friday, where they watched The Testaments. We had about the third of the attendance we usually have in sacrament meeting, so it was pretty great! Also, if you see TC Christiansen, tell him that he made a lady cry with 17 Miracles. She didn't want to watch it because she thought it looked sad and gory, but I told her it was really great. So she watched it and later came and thanked me for recommending it. She said that it totally changed her perspective on her life right now and helped her through some problems. Our talents can always help others out, even though we may never meet them!
We visited a referral that some other missionaries have been teaching for a while now that recently moved here. Her dad came at the beginning and told us in a very nice, yet somewhat condescending way, "We're all Catholics here, and there's nothing you can do to make my daughter get baptized again. You never need a second baptism." Man, am I ever grateful that Luke decided to write about Paul's experience in Acts 19 with the rebaptism. We cheerfully invited him to read in the Bible with us. And we just read. No explaining, nothing. The scriptures speak for themselves. After reading, he just kinda shut up and walked out of the room. Reading the scriptures invites the spirit, and the spirit is more powerful than anything we can do or say.
We had an awesome less active lesson! We just happened to find them in a time when the whole family was there, which is really unusal for big families of 6 almost grown-ups. We opened and read in the Book of Mormon with them. Again, scriptures have power, but that time it was different. The fact that the whole family was there was just something special. I'm glad I have experiences of reading and praying with all my family. The cool part? This last Sunday they went to church for the first time in my time in this area. And we've been visiting them since the beginning. I reiterate: complete families have power and invite the spirit.
Another less active asked us for relationship advice. He recently started coming back to church and is working on receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood. We're trying very hard to teach his girlfriend, who is really cool and comes to all the activities. As missionaries, we don't give advice. But we can read scriptures! We pulled out Alma 37:37, which was just great! If we have hard decisions, just ask God!
We went to Fraile a few times this week. The branch there is kinda dead-ish. However, when we went on Sunday, there was one family that showed up apart from the President and his counselor! That was really great! Later, we committed the President to go visiting with us. That was just great! There were so many people just waiting for the invitation to come back. Plus it was very cool to see the respect they had for the President, calling him by his title and all, even though they hadn't gone to church in years. He's not the most charismatic guy I've ever met, but even so, he carries the mantle of branch president, and that was very cool to see. The power of the priesthood and its offices is something undeniable.
Anyway, we still have lots to work on. Like mom was telling me, the mission can really bring out your weaknesses and make them apparent, but even so, I always love writing you guys, because I always realize just how blessed I am and how many miracles I'm priveleged to see daily.
Love you all!