Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Week Sixty-Eight: Salta

Sounds like everyone had a good week and is enjoying the weather! Lol, well maybe not the weather so much lol. The weather here isn't too bad. It does get pretty warm and we do sweat a lot, but I am really grateful that I am in Salta for the summer because it's the least hot of all the other places. I was able to experience the hottest area, which was in Tucuman, and now I can just relax a bit more. 
This week we did splits with the office elders that are in our zone. Office elders are usually pretty new, like 5 to 9 months in the field. I went to their area and when I introduced myself to them, they all called me old because I have 16 months in the mission. I didn't like that. Everyone's like, "Oh you don't have time much left" and on the inside I'm like, "Shut up!" and on on the outside I just say, "I have some time left still." Time is going so fast and it's weird to think that I'm one of the older ones now. But I still think you really get old in the mission when the sisters from your group finish their missions. I'm not there yet so all is well. 
Sadly, Nilda wasn't able to get baptized. She told us in the beginning that she was married, but just before her interview, she said she wasn't married and her family confirmed that. Here in Argentina, it's common to have two houses on the same lot. And the president said if an unmarried couple lives in two different houses that are on the same lot they can still get baptized. Her and her boyfriend live in the same house but she is actually trying to end things with him, so she accepted the invitation to live in the other house. The other house is owned by the same family so it's no problem. But when she presented the idea to her boyfriend, he did not like it. He is an alcoholic and not a good guy who won't let her move. We fasted this week with her and we are praying that his heart will be softened. Nilda wants to get baptized, but we just have to solve this problem first. 
But this week we were able to see some miracles. We are teaching the son of a super active sister in our ward, Mario. He is about 45 years old and has had a drinking problem for a very long time. He is getting a divorce and is now living with his mom. He has become really humble through this experience and really wants to change his life. We have visited him a few times already and we can see the change in him. We taught the Word of Wisdom this Sunday. We taught it in the beginning, but we felt like we should go over it again. He then told us a story of when he was with his friends and they were all drinking. They offered him a drink but he denied it. He said he didn't even have the slightest desire to drink. Telling the story, he started to get emotional and express how grateful he is that he found the way to change his life. He then said that he spent the night at his brother's house a few nights ago. His brother has a drinking problem too, and he said is now inspired to make a change in his life as well after seeing Mario. He and his mother were both crying at this point. I can only imagine how the mom felt to see that her son is changing his life and is preparing to get baptized. And now to hear that her other son wants to change too! It was a really special experience. Mario has a baptismal date for the 4th of Feb. So keep him and Nilda in your prayers for us and for them. This week we also have a baptism planned for Geronimo. He is 9 years old but is really smart. He went to church for the third time this week and will be baptized Saturday!  
Also, this Wednesday we have a worldwide transmission. We don't know who is going to speak but we are all super excited! 
I hope you all have a great week! Have fun and be safe! Love you! Kiss my puppies for me!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Week Sixty-Seven: Salta

So first things first, Rodrigo was able to get baptized on Saturday! My comp baptized him and I spoke about the Holy Ghost during the baptism. In our ward there are 4 missionaries and the area is split in two, so the other elders baptized too. Everything went really well and Rodrigo is super happy. He was able to feel the Spirit super strong during the baptism and during the confirmation. He is going to be a very faithful member of the church. We have another baptism planned for this week as well. Her name is Nilda and she is about 65 years old, but she isn't like all the other old people here. A lot of old people here, for lack of better term, just seem to have a fried brain. Why? I'm not really too sure... but I am always surprised when we talk with her, cause she actually understands what we teach and has normal responses lol. So we are working with her for right now. All of her family are recent converts so they are helping too. 
The conference was good. I was chosen by the president to talk about the importance of working with members. He told us our assignments the day before so we didn't have much time to prepare. When we were preparing I was trying to think of a story in the Book of Mormon that I could relate to working with members. Then the story of Alma and Amulek came to mind, and in the same thought, the talk from President Uchtdorf from this recent priesthood session came to mind as well. He talked all about Alma and Amulek and how we have to find our Amuleks. Alma was a very successful missionary that needed a little help when he entered into an area that was pretty hard. He found Amulek, a less active member, helped him, then they worked together and made of of the most bittersweet stories in scripture. I talked about how we can be very effective missionaries if we follow the example of Alma. We can use the help of the members and help less active members come back to church at the same time. They don't have to be two separate things. I didn't get any feedback from the president, he was pretty busy. But sister Chaparro, his wife, said she loved the analogy of Alma and Amulek. 
Our comp studies are good. We really spend most of the time planning and talking about our investigators, who we are going to visit, and what we are going to teach. Oh and President Chaparro announced the new president of our mission. Our new president will be Presidente Juan L.Orquera and his wife Silvina Michalek. They start the first of July. They are from Buenos Aries, Argentina and he has been a stake president for the last 10 years.  We don't have too much info, but I'm sure we will get more with time. 

I hope you guys have a great week! I'll talk to you soon! Kiss the puppies for me! Love you!

Week Sixty-Six: Salta

So we had another good week and a lot more people went to church since there were no more New Year parties. We are able to teach so much because really, everyone is just home all the time. So when we pass by, they are just there. It's actually pretty weird, I don't really understand it lol. I don't know if it's because the people don't do anything or if we have just gotten good at setting appointments. The fact is that there are a lot of people to teach here and its a small area, so we don't have to travel very far to the next appointment. We always have a member to accompany us in our lessons. There is also an elder that came back from his mission early for six months for health problems and he doesn't want to fall out of the mission routine, so he accompanies us a lot. The ward is really big and young so there are a lot of priests and single adults that come with us. We try to do splits 2 or 3 times a week if we can. So the key is in the members. 
Today my comp, two other companionships from our zone, and I went to Cerro San Bernardo. It's a big and pretty popular hill here in Salta. You can walk up or take a trolley thing. We took the trolley to go up and we walked down. It was really cool. You could see all of Salta when you are at the top so the pics are pretty cool, and the trail to walk down was really cool too. After that, my comp and I went to La Union, my first area. My comp served there too. He actually is the elder that replaced me there. We went and visited some members and converts. It was pretty interesting to be in my old area. Everything was so familiar! It felt like it had been like two weeks since I was last there, definitely not more than a year. But we were out in the sun walking all day and I forgot that the sun here is super strong, so I did get a little burnt lol. But nothing too bad. 
Oh, we fixed the bikes and now we have working bikes!!! They are awesome and we can go from one appointment to the other super fast. With bikes, I feel like a missionary in the states lol. I made that thingy on the back of the bike with some wood and metal wire that we had in the apartment. I don't know why it was there either, but I took out my tools and went to town. It is actually surprisingly sturdy. It's not really too pretty, but it works great! 
This week we have our zone conference, but President changed a few rules and now he will be present in all zone conferences. So we will see how it goes. 
Oh, we have a baptism planned for Rodrigo. He is super awesome and ready to get baptized! For the last two weeks, I have been able to teach and help him. He hasn't told us who he wants to baptize him or anything yet. But we are pretty excited for him! 
Sounds like you guys had a great week and had lots of fun! Now is it back to the normal routine? I hope you guys have a great week! Take pics! Love you! I'll talk to you soon! Kiss the puppies for me!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Week Sixty-Five: Salta

Hey guys!
Man, it sounds like you guys had an awesome New Years!! For the New Year our president gave us permission to have dinner with a family and stay out longer. Then when 12am came around, it seemed like World War 3 started! We didn't even try to sleep because it was impossible. We watched the fireworks for a little bit and when it started to die down we went to bed. But it was a good night. 
So my area is small but there is a lot to do here! The area is small because it was split in two recently. The church and ward here is really big, the biggest that I have had so far. The bishop says we have about 150 people come every week! That's huge! And there are a lot of really strong members and youth! This was the first time I saw only young men pass the sacrament!! We have a lot of help from the members and we always have a member with us. We are working like crazy!! My companion and I get along really well and are kicking some major butt. There was never that awkward first week as you are trying to get to know your comp, we were already friends by the first day. As a zone leader I haven't had to do anything too special yet. We had to help a mini missionary find her bus to go to her area and we had to help some elders that came early from the MTC, but that's about it.
 The air conditioning is incredible!! It makes a huge difference! I love it! Everything is going really well and I can't complain about anything. Being in Salta is also pretty nice because everything you need is really close and you don't have to go to far. Oh and we acutally have bikes in the area because it's so large. One is broken right now but it just needs a new chain and it's really cheap to fix so we just need a little time and we will have bikes! So that's another plus!! Oh and Elder Dobson is in my zone. He is my comp from the MTC so that's pretty cool! But really, I am pretty happy with everything. The members are good, we have lots of food, lots of work to do, and lots to teach. Oh and this week, even though it was my first week here, we went on splits like three times with members to visit and teach more people. I just had to study the map a bit and write the directions down and it worked out great! We were able to teach 45 lessons with a member present this week. Sorry I didn't take any pics this week. But I did take this one lol. I love you guys and hope you have a great week! Kiss the puppies for me!