Landon is on an LDS Church mission. After serving six weeks in Medford, OR, he got his VISA and is now in Salta, Argentina. So his mom is posting his letters for anyone who wants to read them. He'd love to hear from firstname.lastname@example.org or
Elder Landon Willey/
Argentina Salta Mission/
Casilla de Correo 429/
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Santiago - August 25, 2014
Thank you everyone for your birthday wishes!
The weather here is nuts. It's gotten up to 95 degrees. Now the cold is coming back. We'll see what happens.
Did you guys every answer my question about the family mission plan? I don't remember... Also, do you ever get the chance to accompany the missionaries in Utah?
A fifteen year old that recently got reactivated came with us on Monday to visit people. On the way back I asked what she'd learned. She said that she learned to be grateful for what she has. I was kinda suprised, thinking she'd say something about what we'd taught in the lessons. I guess I've just kinda gotten used to really small beat-up houses. It got me thinking and I started realizing that usually, if they're a gospel-living famlily, you don't realize if they're poor. When you have a strong home, the house you live in doesn't matter much.
Technology is great. We were able to help a member look for President Monson's October talk on her cell phone on the anniversary of her mother's death. And we loaned Cristian - that got baptized this week - the one hour version of the restoration video. He loved it. His mom too. Crazy awesome how God has prepared technological things that help us to feel his spirit.
I had such a good day on Wednesday. We did splits and I stayed in the family history center with the stake consultant and a couple of our converts. For the first time ever, I witnessed the reservation of ordinances in the temple. For 12 people! Something I love is when Ariel, the family history consultant said to Marcela, that got baptized a couple months ago, "If you go to the temple, well, when you go to the temple because I know you're going to go, you can just click here to print and take these papers with you." I've never been so sure that a convert is going to go to the temple! It was so great! Afterward he got talking to me about the importance of family history - that it's a work of patience and faith. That when we hit the barriers, that's when we have to develop the faith to keep going, even when we have no idea how. In the world today we're so used to just getting things like that, that sometimes we don't have the patience to keep moving on. The spirit that was in that room was so strong. I just loved it. Family history is of God. It prepares us to have even more powerful experiences in the temple.
My birthday was great! Alejandro and Gisela gave us an asado. He also showed me his sugar cane out back. I've never sucked on sugar cane before. It was delicious! She also made me a really yummy dulce la leche cake with a mickey mouse candle!
I did a service during exchanges with Elder Escobar. We walked out about 40 minutes, passing the edge of the city. We watered an old guy's street (people do that a lot so that the dust doesn't get thrown up into their house). We also weeded a bit. And fed his mosquitos. Apparently gringo blood is pretty sweet!
During those exhanges, we visited a ton of recent converts, and talked a lot about doing the little things - reading, praying, family night, and going to church - all in family. I was surprised by how many were actually doing it, but even so, they lacked consistency. I loved sharing the scripture in 3 Nephi 18:12, that if we really want a sure foundation, we have to do these things ALWAYS. More or less doesn't cut it to have a rock-solid foundation.
Gisela gave a talk in Cristian's baptism on Saturday. I never would have guessed that she was a convert of less than a month if I hadn't known it. Something I love that she said was, "I can't wait for Sunday to come so that I can go to church. I've even gotten to the point where I just want work to end so I can go home and study the scriptures with my husband." She's really taking advantage of the gift of the holy ghost, receiving it every day like Elder Bowen told us in the MTC that we had to do. It's just so interesting comparing that with other recent converts. We all receive the same gift from God when we get baptized, but it's what you do with it that decides what kind of blessings you'll get from having it. Family night, family prayer, and family scripture study are so powerful!
I went to the area next door and ate with a really great latter-day saint in their ward, Sister Maidana. I'd eaten with her about 2 months ago and she'd said, "Elders, I'm sorry. I keep looking for people so that you can teach them, but no one seems to receive you when I pass the referral! But don't worry, I'll find someone!" In lunch this Saturday, her less active daughter and her boyfriend were there. She totally arranged that. When we got talking to him, he said, "The Mormon view of death amazes me. When someone dies, you're sad, but at the same time, you keep on happily along. I saw that when Sister Maidana invited me to a funeral. I wish I had a perspective like that." It was just really cool to see the way that she'd prepared him, and then made arrangements so that he met the missionaries. That's member missionarywork!
This week we're praying a lot for Monica, who was planning on getting baptized this Saturday, but is doubting for the opposition. The first time we went there, it was her daughter that greeted us and let us in. On Sunday, her daughter said to her, "If I would have known that you would think about getting baptized with those Mormons, I never would have let them in the door!" Every time we go, someone new tells her how crazy the Mormons are, and that she can't keep listening to us. There is definitely an opposition in all things, but we know that God always wins in the end. Despite all the things people tell her, she keeps going to church, and went to a couple of activities this week. It reminds me a bit of President Monson's talk about courage that he gave in conference. I'm grateful to have her example.
Anyway, that was my week! I hope you all have a great one!