Jordan's heart just gets getting bigger and bigger the longer he is out in the mission. I think that's why he has gained so much weight.
Argentina! I still cant believe Im here. The flight was brutally long(11 hours)and I could not fall asleep the whole time, so by the time I got here i was dead. The Buenos Aires Airport is more like a big deserted mall with rats everywhere.
Jordan's mission president told him that he would be "robbed in the next two years [and] probably [on] multiple occasions."
After arriving at the mission home they had pizza and got a lesson on how to be robbed. "After an interview, and a few chats with the president, I met my new comp and trainer Elder Stokes. Wow. I honestly could not have hoped for a better trainer. I had heard a lot of nightmare stories about [horrible] ... and prayed really hard that I would get a good trainer. Trainers, I have heard, make all the difference for the rest of your mission. Elder Stokes is from Reno, Nevada and awesome. Right when I met him, he gave me a huge hug and a kiss on the cheek (its cool in Argentina). He is super patient, says "Dude" all the time, and loves everybody. What a blessing and an answer to prayer.
Our area is part of the city La Plata called "City Bell". It is supposed to be one of the nicest areas of the mission with the least chance of getting robbed. [But] it does not look like it to the American eye. No one has any money. Everyone lives in these little brick shacks that make our shed beneath the deck look like a palace. There are dogs everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Elder Stokes and [I] counted a few days ago and got to 700 around 4oclock and quit. No one owns any of the dogs, and they are just kind of part of the wildlife. They all have lots of diseases and hate missionaries. You have to make it a habit of carrying a few big rocks in your pocket, and pulling them out whenever a dog attacks. I will never own a dog. As of this moment, I hate them.
The roads and drivers are nuts here. There are no traffic laws, but more like suggestions. Everyone drives really fast and then stops as fast as they can and there are no lanes, stop lights, or stop signs. I am so thankful not to be in a driving mission. We went in a taxi the other day and my comp made me close my eyes. Mom, you would have a heart attack. Pedestrians never have the right of way, even on cross walks. We have to be really careful not to get run over.
I have never felt so much pride in being American and loving America. Everything in America is nice and clean, and all the people are friendly. Our apartment does not have a [bidet]. I was so sad. We have to wear shoes all the time in the apartment because the floor is [super] dirty, and has lot of diseases. But, it is so much nicer than a lot of the houses I have been in. We have enough investigators and references so that we do not have to tract.
No one here can say my name. They say, "¿Como se llama. Elder Laaweis?" and then ask for my first name and have no idea at all. The language is super tough. The people here slur all their words, talk really fast, and use a ton of different words than what I was taught. They say they dont speak Spanish, but Castillano. I guess they taught me the wrong language in the MTC. I dont really understand anyone really well, but I feel their spirit.
I have so much I want to say, but dont have any time. (1 hour a week for email) I love the work. I am so excited to be a good missionary.
President Stapely challenged me to "write my homecoming talk now, and act like the missionary that the talk says you are". I really took this to heart. I am going to be the best, most obedient [I] possibly can be.
I love you all so much. I wish you success and happiness and pray for you everyday. Thanks for all. All is well. Life is good.