Tuesday, November 27, 2012

April 2, 2012   Tucumán   Argentina

WOW! I am officially an uncle! Makes me feel even older! haha Dean looks like Eric alot! I told one of our very humble investigators that I was going to have a nephew at the end of this month and every time we went there and she said a prayer to end or start she prayed for Alyssa! I didn’t even ask her to she just did it. She came from a very difficult and shady background and is the one that has learned to read but she has the biggest heart for everyone. Her step daughter and her husband are druggies that live on the same lot and don’t take care of their 3 year old girl. Samir, who just turned 3 years Thursday always is giving her his milk that his mom makes for him and tea and bread that he gets and goes back and asks his mom for more so he can eat. Her big heart reflects immensely in him at only 3 years old. The oregano is helping the spots on him alot and got rid of the ones he had but he got another one on his chest. I wonder if it’s parasites that he has that are causing them. I guess some DE wouldn’t hurt him would it? haha! I feel bad that I can’t just get it for everyone here but whatever. Their faith can work too.

The guy who has stomach cancer hasn’t been in bed since he started taking the things I gave him and he feels better too. He doesn’t have vomit anymore and he went in for a double check on what he has a half week after he was taking everything and they found a tumor in his stomach that is blocking food passage a bit and so he can only eat liquids. They said it’s not malignant (?) and that he should be fine but they want to go in and take it out. He and his wife came to conference Sunday afternoon and loved it! They are such a nice family. They cant get married because his previous wife from ten years ago won’t allow a divorce or he can’t find her to sign the papers. That’s what the other missionary told me anyways. We’ll see what we can do.

We got 5 investigators to go from our area and some less/inactives to go to conference. It was one of my favorites so far. Maybe I say that every time but I never dozed once because I was so excited to hear and learn from them. It was great thinking about investigators while being there because we will be printing off or showing a few investigators talks from the conference to answer questions. One was a guy whose wife got baptized about 6 months ago and he has questions about why he has a mentally challenged son. Two of the talks were perfect for him and these questions. He didn’t come but he might have watched parts on internet with his son. We have yet to find out.

There was a baptism right after the conference on Sunday and we were about to have a great kid who is 14 years old baptized but then he put doubts in his mind right before and didn’t want to do it. He is planning for next week but we have to help him see his answer again and help him to grow his testimony this week. The problem is that often times people can be unsure now and then after they receive a testimony before the baptism but need to take that leap of faith and do it and feel the difference at the baptism. Alot of people gain their testimony at the baptism.

His mom is almost done with the book of Mormon and we have taught her everything but she still says she’s Catholic. We are not going to focus on her and just let her keep reading and coming to church (came to conference twice too!) and she will eventually know. One of her daughters was ready and told them she wanted to be baptized but then work started and she dropped reading the book of Mormon and her mom said something to her about changing religions. She now has excitement again and a new baptism date planned for the 14th of April. It has been a trying few weeks with them but one learns good attributes from those experiences I guess.

Attributes which I will be needing because I lost my old companion and will be training a new missionary now. I have to work today and tomorrow in my area with a member until I leave Tuesday night for Salta to go pick up my new companion. I don’t know anything about him yet so I’ll let you know next week. But I will but there for all of Wednesday and get back late that night (at least that’s what I am hoping).
It’s really hard to leave your area knowing that nothing is happening there while you're gone unless I can get a member to pass by our investigators. I will be working on getting that to happen here today and tomorrow.

With a new missionary we get an extra hour of companion study and we have a DVD player to watch the "District" and practice alot. They have a new system for missionaries to learn faster and have goals of things they need to do every week which is supposed to bust their progress alot! I am excited to be learning right along side of whomever it is because they didn’t have this in place until the last few months.

The baptism on Sunday evening at the stake center was from my trainer(elder Serey) who left for home today. He was also my zone leader for this last transfer (6 weeks). His ward had a few people get up and say a few things for him afterwards and it was really cool! I got up and told him how grateful I was to have him teach me in the mission and was able to say goodbye afterwards. It was a really spiritual experience for the investigators that were present from several different wards.

I sometimes feel like I am learning slowly but when I look back and think about it I seem to be learning so much. I still have so much to learn though and was a bit surprised when I found out I was going to be training. I guess it’s the opportunity to learn all that that I still need, to keep progressing.

I don’t know if I told you but the weather has cooled alot and I actually wore a sweater for two days (last week if I'm not mistaking). The more I am working with our branch presidencies I have grown to love and appreciate all that they do out of their work schedule and family life to help the work move forward.

Well I am so excited for the family and how its growing! That's one thing I have been thinking about... what day it would be and what not but now I just look forward to pictures as Dean continues to grow! I can’t wait to see him in person!

Well I better get going! I love you all so much and will try to get some pictures the next week. I got a little carried away in writing this week.

Love Alex

March 26, 2012   Tucumán   Argentina


Toda jolla?! (Tucuman slang for "hows it going")

Well we finally got Rosa baptized! We were about to do it last week but it didn’t work out. It was in our smaller branch of about 15 people and no one came partly due to it being unsure until the last minute. The day before she told us she wasn’t going to be able to make it to church on Sunday because she had to leave town. We told her she had to get confirmed on Sunday and she wasn’t sure when she would be back so it was either do it or not. She was thinking about what she could do and then the phone rang and she found out she didn’t have to go! (silent prayer answered!) I just couldn’t believe how much resistance she received before her baptism. There was so much going against her. But in the end a friend of hers and 2 of her grandkids(adults) came and her son in-law(our branch president’s 1st counselor) was the one who baptized her. It was very spiritual. She bore her testimony on Sunday during fast and testimony meeting too so that was really cool! This one kid named Facundo is really bouncing around with doubts and desires. He will get baptized this weekend though hopefully before conference since its starts at 1 here.

We had a few inactive members to church who really liked it and are excited to go again next week to conference. The guy has quite a history including just getting out of jail... he is super happy though to go church again and is going to be looking to get married once he gets a job and can pay for the papers and stuff he needs.

This week a super poor family wanted to make us some pastries and we were a little hesitant but said that would be great because they wouldn’t have let us say no. So this week when we got to one of our appointments with them we smelled this horrible smell really powerful right before we walked in... we were looking at each other questioning if we should clap or not. We clapped and she came around to greet us super excited and when we went into the yard around their kid’s house she had a bunch of big darn good looking donut things. I figured, better that they are fried than anything because it would kill everything. When she put them on the table there was a new smell and it wasn’t what we were smelling before. They had the peeling of a lime shredded into the batter and it was super good! She sent us with some too for the road. They still haven’t made it to church yet because they need a lock for their door or someone to watch the house while they go but the husband has been late getting back from visiting his son in jail on Sundays too. The son in jail has a book of Mormon and wants to come to church when he gets out so that’s pretty cool. I guess he will be out soon for good behavior.

The last missionaries who were here left us without paying the November and December electric bill so our power got cut... we went the next day on a bus into town to go see why they cut it  and were able to pay them and get it hooked back up that same day. Only a few things went bad in the fridge. haha

The other elders in the pench
grinding it in front of them. They didn’t think anything of it but we were told by members it was probably horse with all sorts of innards ground up in it... they were going to the bathroom that night so it might have been in the fridge for a while too. haha never really know what you could be eating here! DOG?... hope not...

We ate at this member’s house and their cat (full grown) was nursing from the dog... they said that they took the cat in when it was little and the dog just started taking care of it as her own baby and continues to nurse it... I thought... "only in Argentina" but I am sure it has happened else where, I just don’t know about it. ha

I learned this fast and testimony meeting in one of the branches that alot of the members are barely making it by day by day for food and still make lunches for us. It’s so amazing how strong some of the people are here and how much confidence they have in the Lord while others have no confidence at all. They will be great helps in teaching people we are finding!

We got a reference to a family who just lost their 23 year old son to some illness and are really sad and have no idea why, after asking God so much in prayer, he could take their son. So we talked a little about the plan of salvation and it seemed like they were alot better
than when we got there. We will see what happens this week. We left some things for them to read.

The gospel is such a great blessing in knowing that we can live together again after this life. I am so grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ so that we can have this opportunity  to live, learn, and grow here on earth and return to live with all of our loved ones once
again. I know the church is true with all my heart and invite all to find out for yourselves the same by praying and asking your Heavenly Father if it is.

Love Alex

March 19, 2012    Tucumán  Argentina

This was a trying week but we made it and learned alot from it. The last couple weeks haven’t been the best in meeting goals and what not but it all goes back to our planning. When we think we are doing ok we get shot down. This Sunday we didn’t teach anyone again because the people we were going to do divisions with didn’t come or came and waited in the church while we were in one of the class rooms waiting for them. communication errors... since we have church in the morning and afternoon we have to study in between and leave church time to teach. So we both spent 6 hours in church. Looking on the good side I learned alot! But we were both ready to be done afterwards. We went to visit a few people who didn’t come to church but none were there or we couldn’t go in for other reasons. It was a little rough but we talked about it and how we can do things different so we can have more success this week and we both felt better.


Well one of our investigators Liliana has quit smoking since Saturday and is doing super good! It was really hard the first few days and she was really nervous but she’s happy and seems like a new person now. She is still learning to read with us so she doesn’t read much alone. She is about 32 or something and had a really hard life including that her previous husband is living with her mom... interesting family situation, but she seems happy her kids are in pretty good hands. She now wants to learn to write so we are working with the ward on these things she needs and they are doing good! They found her a pair of shoes to get to church in and her friend gave her a book bag as a gift and she put her Book of Mormon in and was really excited to go to church. It has been a cool experience to see her grow and change amidst all of the problems and trials she has. I gave her a little oregano oil for her 3 year old who has some weird zit things on his head. They aren’t really zits but they are bumps. Just seeing the conditions of the way they live, there has got to be huge parasite problems down here.


  We almost had a baptism this weekend but we had a little complication and it didn’t work out. It should happen this weekend though along with a brother and sister from another family. The brother tells us it’s true and wants to get baptized, then when we get close he tells us he’s not ready and it’s all because he’s not reading consistently. When he is reading he has the desire and feels it’s true but right when he stops it’s like he forgets what he felt. One of our recent converts here asked why so few people are going to church and I was really wondering the same thing. In all the areas down here there are tons of members and only a few in church. I got to thinking about it and I see all these poor houses with satellite dishes on them. Any time we enter a house the TV is always on and alot of lunches we have, the people have their TVs on and only talk about the news or stuff on TV and not about things that should be talked about as a family. Not all are like this but alot are. I can only think that TV took over scripture study and prayers and then when some trial comes, they aren’t able to keep going. Also I was reading in the teachings of the prophets - George Albert Smith - about keeping the Sabbath day holy and that triggered some ideas too. It is so important - just as the other commandments, but it really is a way we can demonstrate our love and diligence to the Lord and in return he will bless us to the degree we keep the commandment(s)(Alma 38:5). This has been one of my favorite scriptures lately along with alma 36:3,5(?). It’s 36 or 37  but I really like those chapters alot. 

It (scripture study and obedience to all the commandments) is so important! Maybe it’s easy for me to say that while on the mission because I can imagine the little distractions that get in the way of the bigger things.   


Well I better get going now. I love you all and thanks for the goodies!


It’s cooling off a bit at night so it’s perfect to use half of the blanket – some times of the night the whole thing! It’s still 85 or 90 during the day though and the humidity doesn’t change here I am  guessing haha. Cleaning today my shirt was drenched in sweat! I never thought I’d enjoy the cold showers we get at this house due to a very random instant hot water heater. It can be on all the way and the flame is on but the water is only warm.


Love you all! Take care!