Monday, April 25, 2011

April 25, 2011,  Salta Argentina
This week was really good! We had 8 people at church and 4 of them were a family who are very excited to keep learning more and are preparing to be baptized! We have had members with us almost every time we have taught at church and it has made all the difference in the world! The mom mentioned that she loves her coffee and heard we don't drink it so we taught the word of wisdom and when we  asked her to keep this commandment she said she would and knows that it will be better for her.
Another investigator who is 27 came to church and she loved it. She had gone with a friend to a different ward two weeks before and now she can´t wait to be baptized! She really needs friends and family and the ward is doing wonders for her. She is really nice and gets along with everyone and is impressed by how nice everyone is there. She talked a little more about a mission the last time we met with her. We are hoping and praying for her! She has a friend on a mission right now too so I think that has helped her out.

This week has been kinda cold at night and hot during the day. I guess winter is coming! Last year they had a little snow for three days so it does get down there but normally not much below freezing.
I dont know if I mentioned this before but there are tons of motorcycles here! Most are about 50 to 150 cc including the police! Ha-ha! It's pretty funny to see a couple of police on one bike maxed out going about 30 with the suspension maxed out! The other day I saw FOUR people on a motorbike! They probably could have gone faster if they walked but, ya, that's just how they do it here, ha-ha. I saw someone carrying a big birthday cake one a motorcycle one day too.
The other night we were on a dark street that was dirt and I landed perfecty in a mud hole! It's good I have two pairs of shoes! :) Did I mention I love my shoes! They are so comfortable! My feet never bother me and we walk a ton! If anyone needs shoes get Redwing work shoes!  There are tons of dogs here and when it gets dark I just can´t seem to stay away from dog poop... I stepped in it three times one right after the other this week one night. I was wiping it off while walking and slid right through another one! It provided a good laugh. We were on our way home so I didn't have to go in anyone else's house. It cleaned off nicely on the way home and I managed to dodge the rest! I don´t know how my companion misses them!
I was doig my laundry today and left the water on to fill it up when we went to lunch so, ya, when we got back there was water everywhere! It missed everything important and ran out the front door until the neighbor shut it off since the shut-off is outside. I spent the rest of my day cleaning that up instead of the bathroom. I cleaned half of the bathroom last week but it is so gross! Nobody else cleans anything including the dishes so the cockroach problem is unavoidable until I am living with just one mssionary instead of three others. I love them though! They are all very nice and fun to live with so the other stuff doesn't bother me.

I can´t believe next Monday is transfer day! Time is going by so fast! We are both hoping to stay here for at least one more transfer because we havee some people lined up for May and June for sure. Two are just waiting to get married. One is May 26th and the other June 1st, so after that we will baptize them.

I love you all so much!!!
Thank you for the letters!
Elder O
April 18, 2011, Salta Argentina
I have an appointment really soon soo...
This week my companion (Elder serey) and I prayed really hard for new investigators and for our current ones because some are falling through for some reason or other. Anyways, we had some people just pop up out of nowhere who are really interested! One lady we were meeting with didn't seem interested but she wanted us to talk to her daughter who tried committing suicide 2 days before. I don't know the details, but she was fine. Maybe she just thought about it. We met with her and her sister at their mom's house where we were teaching. The daughter who tried or thought about killing herslf was a memeber (24yrs old)  and had been for three years. She got baptized and the ward never gave her a calling and the next missionaries never came by and weren't very nice I guess so she quit going 3 months after. She wants to change and has a daughter of her own. Her sister was never baptized before but wants to change her life to be an example for her two kids(8 and 4 yrs old). She is almost 24. She read the pamphlet on the restoration of the church and basically taught it to us the next time we met. She loved it and feels like it's true so we gave her the Book of Mormon. She didn't make it to church but that's very common. Church is at 9 and the country wakes up about 10 or 11. Ha-ha. We talked to a few more people with major issues in their lives and are feeling the spirit as we teach them. One lady who we had pray at the end of the lesson was crying when she got done beacuse she felt so good. She has had alot of negative things and people in her life and always is thinking about them. She prayed alot before we talked to her just for comfort but never felt the peace and security as she had when she prayed before we left. She had a family thing yesterday but is very excited for church next Sunday.
Another girl about 20 or so in our first meeting with her after she went to church with a friend in a different ward said she wanted to be baptized and said she thought she would like to go on a mission!  That was so out of the blue! We didn't say anything to her. She just said "I would like to do what you guys are doing and help people". 
Many of the people here are Catholic or evangelist and have some sort of belief.
Knowing and thinking of the love of Jesus and his atonment helps me ALWAYS  no matter the circumstance. It always makes me want to do better! And also just laugh when people make fun of us here, ha-ha.
Sorry, this keyboard is horrible. This internet is always full of kids playing computer games and the keyboards are all garbage ha-ha. It's better than nothing though.
People get packages here alot from the states the main no-no is electronics because of the customs charges.
Love you all! Elder O
Mon, Apr 11, 2011, Salta Argentina
We are here at the internet place late again... following the Oczkewicz tradition I guess :)
Anyways, some really cool things are happening here! We have been teaching  a couple really great families and one of them just went to the place to schedule a date to get married so they can get baptized! We are waiting on another couple to get their ID so they can go get a date to get married. This morning the soonest they could get married is the 1st of June so hopefully I don´t get transferred in 3 weeks. Another family we have been working with is REALLY excited to read the scriptures and pray together. The 16 year old daughter never wanted to read or pray but she would read for us when we were there just not on her own. At the end of our lesson last night the oldest son (18) said the prayer and at the end the daughter exclaimed that she wants to says the next one! It is so neat to see families pulling together and finding purpose in life and a greater love for each other and Heavenly Father! It hurt when only 2 investigators came to church but it was Fast and Testimony meeting and it was really great! Some people came who have been inactive for a long time who shared their testimonies! The members who are there every week are really strong but right now that's about 50 or 60. This last Sunday was voting Sunday so alot of people weren´t there. I guess they do it on Sunday in Chile too and everything shuts down - stores and everything. Church gets shortened to an hour on that day there too.
Our zone leaders found an apartment and moved out so it's alot nicer at ours now (with only 4). They took the bunk bed I was on so I won´t get leaked on anymore :) Last week it rained super hard and there was a ton of lightning and thunder. I woke up at 3 am to a wet bed and it was still dripping from the ceiling. I sat up and was watching the lightning while catching the drips and dumping it on the floor for  about ten minutes then I just laid back down with my hand under  the leak. I don´t know why I thought that would keep my bed from getting soaked but I didn't really care. I was pretty tired and didn't feel like getting a pan from the kitchen. To my surprise it stopped a few minutes later even though it was still raining just as hard! A cockroach probably plugged the whole for me :) Did I mention that those things are everywhere?!?! Ha-ha -  those and ants! They were  in my bed frame and they are all  over the place. I don´t know how but they don't really bother me that much. We are putting some stuff out for them and trying to keep the dishes cleaned up so that should help. People were just leaving dishes till they needed them but that is changing slowly with less people living here.
So the washing maching is kinda weird but it works alot better then a 5 gallon bucket like I was expecting to use! It doesn´t spin the clothes but after I wring them out pretty good I put them in a ¨dryer¨. It spins like 60 miles an hour and gets them almost dry! I was really surprised the first time I used it (after I figured out how to use it with out killing myself). The trick is to get the clothes in it evenly so it doesn't get off balance. Ha-ha! You can only fit a couple pairs of socks and a pair of pants in at a time. I´ll take some pictures of our place now that it´s cleaned up and send them your way.
We have been knocking on alot of doors recently so I can practice my Spanish and contacting! It's pretty funny sometimes but we have taught a few people this way so I guess it's not too bad. From one side of our area to the other is a good 30 minutes fast walk!  We do alot of walking since our apartment is outside of our area a little ways. We usually take a taxi back at night since we are usually teaching till the last minute and about to drop! I have never slept so good in my life except for when we get off the boat in Alaska! Ha-ha!
Did I mention I want to change my last name?... ha-ha! Should have done it before the mission though. It provides a good starter for conversation though so it is actually a blessing alot of the time! 
Oh, we went bowling today with some of the other missionaries and you haven´t seen ghetto till you see what I saw at the bowling alley! Ha-ha! First off, there was a dog sleeping in one of the gutters. It got up when some of the others tried to take  a picture and I guess it hangs out there too much cause it had a broken leg or something!  Not very funny, I know, but there are so many dogs here it's crazy! The next thing that I noticed was that the pins all have a string tied on them to reset them. So sometimes they wouldn't fall down all the way and would lean on other pins without knocking them down (the strings triggered something to tell the machine if it fell over or not)! It was entertaining! Tdog was in a different lane sleeping again when we left. Oh, and they don´t have shoes for you so you just use whatever you are wearing! Elder Pringle wiped out a couple times due to the type of dress shoe  he had on. It was pretty fun. We almost hit a motorcycle in our taxi today. There are no stop lights or anything in most of the areas. It's just a free-for-all. I guess that's one way to learn how to drive carefully. Then there was a couple on a motorcycle and the lady was holding  a beautiful birthday cake or something! I was secretly hoping to see it start flying apart in the wind. It was pretty hot and sunny too so I don´t know how it wasn't melting. 
Look up Dulce de Leche on google and see what it is. It is almost like carmel but creamier and they use it on everything here! It is pretty amazing stuff!  Their cakes (tortas) have it in the layers often times. I don´t know where the US went wrong with desserts, but since being here and in Germany, I can see we are really deprived of the the good stuff! Sorry, but it's true. Ha-ha! Bakeries here are great too! 
Well, I have to get going but I love you all sooo much! 
Elder O
First post from Argentina

Date: Mon, 4 Apr 2011
We got to watch conference live here. It was from 1 to 3, 5 to7, and 9 to 11. Sunday was 1 to 3 and 5 to 7. Everything is later in Argentina. The whole country stays up late. Some people are cooking dinner at 9:30 when we go back to our appartment! I loved the talk about the currant bush. It really gave me a new perspective on why things happen even though I am learning to accept them and learn from them. One thing I learned at the MTC is if they are suppose to bring us joy in the long run why not be joyful through the trials too?... made total sense. The better I learn the Plan of Salvation, I am able to put the end picture in my head when things happen or are tough.
We were fortunate to have the priesthood session from 9 to 11 Saturday because it poured so hard during that time! After a sunny day I didn't have a coat or anything. I have only used a sweatshirt once so far. Anyways, it rained so hard the water was rushing through the streets some places as high as the curb!  When we walked home at 11 it was only sprinkling but we were still hopping puddles. made for a muddy next day! Alot of the people we are teaching are in the poorer parts on dirt roads and it gets really bad after it rains. I still haven't used the boots and probably won´t till it gets cooler because I am still cooking throughout the day. There is often times a breeze though which is a nice added blessing!
We got to our apartment after the rain and there was water all over the floor! We were looking for a leak in the ceiling but found out the water guy gave us  a bottle for a dispensor with a crack in it or the glue came off. Ha-ha! 
We are having a hard time with a few of our investigators but I have learned alot from them. For the same reason they might not be putting gospel committments in front of other things in their life is the same reason we as members might not keep our salvation and blessings of the atonement on our mind throughout the day or week. It's not always easy to keep the little  but so important things on the top of our lists in our lives (scripture reading) but those little things are what bring to pass great things! I know that's part of a scripture but I 'think of it right now... just remember what our Father in Heaven has promised us and study the plan of salvation and know that we have to do our  part. 
Trees on the sidewalks don´t get trimmed very often so I am constantly ducking them while walking down the side walks. It was only a matter of time before I walked into one of them like I did one of the members' doorways... I was looking at one of the hundreds of dogs in Salta and my companion said "cuidado!" I turned just in time to have a mouth full of leaves and a nice scratch on my forehead!
I guess it's just a normal thing to get the runs here and I got my first dose! Ha-ha! Not sure what it was from, but it was only a day.
Well, I have to go!  I love you all! I am loving it here even more!!
Elder O