Thursday, September 1, 2011

August 22, 2011 - Happy Birthday Elder Lewis!!

I don't really have any birthday plans and I am not really planning on telling anyone it's my birthday either. haha! There is a tradition in Argentina to throw eggs and flower at someone when its their birthday, so I will be doing my best to keep it a secret. I hope the age of 20 brings lots of wisdom, a fuller beard, and lots more chest hair. Can"t wait.

Crazzzy week this week. First of all, Elder Oporto is awesome. I must have done something right because I am getting such great companions thus far in the mission. He is pretty quiet and conserved, but is known to break out a sweet dance move every once in a while and loves to play tricks on me. (The other day I got into my sleeping bag and it was full of Chastity pamphlets from the church.)  He helps me with Spanish all the time, and I love him tons.

Our apartment is a big step up from the box we lived in in City Bell, but still on the smaller side, especially for four Elders. We live above this super nice, but crazy, old lady who is menos activo. She gave me a kiss on both of my cheeks when she met me and then told me I looked like I would be in the movies and took a picture of me. I don't know if any of you have seen the movie Madagascar, but she reminds me of the old German lady from Madagascar. (Except Argentine.) The apartment looks like a big cabin and is super nice except for the shower and the cold. But it has a electric keyboard. The apartment is so cold you can see your breath at any time of the day. It is designed to keep the cold in in the summer, but the problem is that it does the same thing in the winter. Usually it is colder in the apartment than outside of it. In result, we all wear coats, gloves and hats whenever we are in the pinch. I have named the shower "The Catholic Baptism" ever since I got here. It has very minimal water pressure and no hot water. Whenever I shower here, I feel like Will Ferell in the movie Elf when he tries to take a shower in the shower that is way too little for him. The shower kind of just dribbles on your chest. Because of the combination of the cold in the apartment, the cold of the water, and the lack of the water, the shower is super unpleasant and quick. I thought that there was going to be a time issue with four people using one shower, but its not really a problem because each shower averages about 65 seconds. All the other Elders in the apartment are all pretty quiet and to themselves, so I don't think there is any danger of things getting too wild.

The area of Longchamps is great. I know already that this is gonna be a really great area. Neither Elder Oporto or I know the area, members, or investigators, so we spent a lot of this week just walking around and figuring things out. As we were walking around, it became a lot more evident that Longchamps is a lot more humble area than City Bell was. About the worst houses in City Bell are the very best in Longchamps. The culture is very different, and we have to be a lot more careful. The area is divided up into different neighborhoods or barrios. Each barrio has a different feel and culture. One of the barrios is called Villa Paris and was formerly closed to the missionaries because it was thought to be a little to dangerous, but was recently opened again by the president. On our second day in Longchamps, and our first day in Villa Paris, Elder Oporto and I were walking down a random street when we passed a guy standing on a corner. Right when we passed him, he turned and started to follow us really close. We both noticed, stopped talking and started walking faster. The guy started walking faster too, so we started to kind of trot. As soon as we started to trot he started saying, "Hey guys! Hold up for a second! Come here, come here, come here!". We both looked back and he was taking something out of his pocket and Elder Oporto just shouted "Run!". We started to run and the guy started to run after us with gun in hand. He chased us for about six blocks and then stopped. There was about a blocks space in between us. At this point I was just shocked and angry that this was actually happening. We looked back at him and he was shouting something we couldn't hear; and for some reason, I don't know why, probably because I was angry, I blew him a really big kiss and made sure he saw it. Right when I did this, he started chasing us again for about two blocks more, but luckily we caught a bus out of Villa Paris and lost him. We called the President the next day and told him the story. He told us that there were angels protecting us. He also told us that we are not allowed to go to Villa Paris anymore. We were pretty okay with that. The rest of our area is super calm, so I don't expect to have any more troubles for the rest of my time here.

Other than that, LongchampsOporto and I have talked and expect to see many miracles in the next little while.

The other day we were visiting the Bishop of our ward, Bishop Godoy, and getting to know him. He asked me "Do you play any instruments?" And I told him that I play the piano, but badly. He gave me a little grin and I didn't think anything more of it. Yesterday in our first sacrament meeting in Longchamps, the bishop stood up at the pulpit at the very beginning of the meeting and announced "Elder Lewis has been called as the ward  pianist and will start today for our opening hymn number....." I couldn't believe it. He had not asked me or anything beforehand, but I accepted anyways. I then stumbled through the hymns for the rest of sacrament meeting, but everybody seemed happy enough. I guess they had been singing A Capella since the last Elder in Longchamps who could play piano. I guess I have to start practicing with the electric keyboard in the apartment. I never thought this would happen, but thanks mom for making me take piano lessons.

All is well. Life is good.

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