Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November 12, 2012

This week was way good. It kind of seemed like everything worked out. There is a homeless drunk guy who always sneaks in the church when anyone leaves the gate open. He doesn't do anything bad, just kind a corner and sleeps there.  (corner=baptismal font, underneath the sacrament table, in the cleaning closet, on the benches, etc.) He always sneaks in on Sundays especially and sleeps though the Sacrament meeting. The members kindly delegated the duty of waking up and helping the homeless man out of the chapel to the missionaries. Usually it is kind of a fight to wake him up.You have to poke him in the ribs really hard, and then he wakes up a little bit, looks at you, mumbles something understandable, and then goes back to sleep. You have to repeat that process around 6 times to get him up. This week after sacrament meeting I poked him once, he shot up and RAN out of the church.Tender mercy. That's just the kind of week it was. 

I hit 21 months this Friday. I only feel trunky during email time. 

This week we got a call from a student from the University of La Plata that was looking for the Public Relations representative of the LDS church. She asked us if we would be willing to have an interview with her for a documentary on the 5 biggest churches in La Plata and their stances on sexuality and homosexuality. We called President and asked him if we should and he asked us, "Do you know our stance on sexuality and homosexuality?" We said yes but he reexplained it to us anyways. He had the interview on Wednesday in the church. The girl and the group were totally nice. They brought a camera crew and everything with them. They said that they had already interviewed Catholics, Evangelists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Buddhists. They asked us some pretty basic questions and we just tried to focus on the family the whole time. Elder Romero loves to talk, especially in interview type situations, so I let him answer the majority of the questions. I was kind of nervous to speak about such a sensitive subject on camera, not knowing who all would see the video. As we testified of the family and the love that God has for everyone of us, I felt really good and sincere about the things I was saying. I felt sure. The students (who were obviously very liberal and didn't agree with the things we were saying), were totally nice and respectful and told us that we had a "sweet spirit" during the interview. It was a way good experience to wear my beliefs even more on my sleeve.

A lot of the investigators who were formally not progressing made huge steps this week. We had about 12 investigators in church. It was way good. 

I have basically decided that extending is not something I want to do. I love the mission so so much, but I feel more and more that when February comes around, it will be time to finish things up. That, and I don't really have any options of companions to extend with. (The extension companion has to be someone who would be going home in your group. My group is only 5 missionaries.) extension. But its good! I feel good. 

November 5, 2012

Everyone and their grandma came up to me this week and told me that the United States was being torn to shreds. It kind of scared me in the moment, but it calmed my fears that no one who lives on the east coast, or was there visiting, even mentioned the storm. The Argentine news is super super dramatic and kind of uses whatever excuse it can to make The United States look bad. I blame the nws that everyone here always is freaking out about things that have happened in the US. 
This week was way good with a few tinges of frustration. I still look really stupid 85% of the time because Elder Romero is always making me laugh really really hard without trying. We will just be walking down the street and not be talking and he will say something (with all sincerity) like, "I hate cougars. All of them." I don't know if the humor is completely communicated by a medium like email, but he is really funny. I live in a Nacho Libre world.  

Remember the two girls who disappeared that we were looking for? They were found! But, the story kind of ends sadly anyways. The girls made it home, but it came out that the whole kidnapping was kind of set up. The girls parents both use a lot of cocaine and got into debt with the drug dealers. To pay back their debt, they arranged a deal with the drug dealers that the dealers could have the girls (13 and 14 years old) for a week, and the debt would be forgiven. It was kind of a prostitution deal. When we found out, we were both pretty upset. The police didn't really want to get involved. We decided it was probably best if we don't go to the house of the girls and parents anymore. 

Remember the Family Cora? We tried working with them for the past few weeks, but they don't really want to hear anything. They are pretty satisfied with Umbanda. Oh welll.... They are a totally cool family anyways.

We are kind of going back into the looking for new investigators phase. It's kind of frustrating to regress, but it's what we have to do. This coming week we will probably be walking a lot.

All is well. Life is good.

October 29, 2012

Right now it is misting outside and had been misting/raining for the last three days. When it rains, a ton of water leaks under the front door of the apartment and floods everything. This morning I jumped off the top bunk (where i sleep) and there was about 1cm of water all over. The worst is that all the water is sure to convert into mold everywhere in a few hours. It's okay though we hardly time at all in the pinch.

Today we went to the Cathedral of La Plata. (I took lots of cool pics, but the computer seems to think my camera is a virus and won't let me download any pictures.) It's so so cool and big. Supposedly it is the biggest cathedral in South America. It's kind of strange though because I think the typical Cathedral experience is that of being in a really old old building. Not so in La Plata. They just finished constructing it in 2007. Kind of new, but way way cool. I went with all the Elders in my district. As we walked into the cathedral, some Elders started whistling and singing "The First Vision". I felt really embarrassed and ashamed and tried to get away from them as fast as possible with another Elder, Elder Smoot, who felt the same. Elder Smoot is one of my best buddies in the mission. I lived with him for 3 months in Longchamps when we lived in a four man pinch. He reminds me of Josh so so much. He and I are the two Elders who have been robbed the most in the whole mission. (Me-8 Smoot-6) He lives in the Uinta Mountains in Utah. He said he lives 50 minutes away from the closest town and didn't have friends, besides his parents until he was 15.  I invited Smoot to live with Matt and Rick and Kyle and I some day. Hopefully it work out.

This Sunday, the two biggest soccer teams in Argentina, Boca and River, played for the first time in more than two years. When Boca and River play, it is called the Super Classic. There are lots of games that are considered Classics, but only Boca vs. River is the Super Classic. There isn't real a comparison in United States sports. It's like the World Series, the Super Bowl, and the NBA championship all in one. It was wild. We had lots of appointments planned during the game, but none of the people would even open their doors, not even the members or the bishop. Noooo one. And there was no one in the streets except for when a goal was scored. We could always tell when one of the teams scored a goal because all the people would come out of their houses, scream bad words for a little bit, shoot a gun in the air, or dance, and then go back in their houses to watch the rest of the game. After the game was even worse. The game ended up in a tie and all of the fans of both teams came out of their houses to fight. There were fights everywhere in between groups of Boca and River fans. Hundreds of people were injured in the actual stadium after the game because they had a huge rock fight after it finished. Not kidding. Wild. We didn't accomplish really anything for about 4 hours on Sunday, but it was super memorable and funny anyways. 

We have been teaching a 11 year old kid named Guillermo (Geeshayermoe) for the past few weeks. One day we were walking down the street and a barefoot, really dirty, and little kid starting shouting at us. He went over to talk to him and he asked us when we were going to come over to his house to show him a movie about God. We set up a appointment for the next day. We went to his house and it was kind of a sad experience. Guillermos parents are both mas o menos drug addicts with about 10 kids. Guillermo is the youngest of all of the kids and his parent just don't really pay him much attention, so he just kind of runs around in the streets all day doing whatever he wants. He never wears shoes, not because he doesn't have them, but he doesn't like shoes. The bottom of his feet are totally leathery. hahahah He is totally funny and mature for his age. He think that whatever we say is the coolest thing he has ever heard and always drops his jaw out of surprise while we teach. I have never laughed so hard in the process of teaching anyone before. (Except Antonio-the crazy guy in Solano who punched me in the crotch at church)  We have been taking Guillermo to church for the past few weeks, and we had it planned that he would be baptized this last Saturday. But, we passed by Guillermos house this Wednesday and Guillermos Mom came running out of the house bawling hysterically, gave me a huge hug and bawled into my chest while talking really fast and not really making sense. Eventually we got it out of her that two of her daughters had been abducted the previous night. The two daughters (13 and 14 years old) had gone to the street corner to smoke cigarettes at 1 in the morning and never came back. Both of the girls were/are really crazy and are always hanging out with men who were way older than them and that did lots of bad things. This week we spent lots of hours walking around with Guillermo and hanging up fliers. It's kind of normal for young girls to disappear here. It's kind of in style for teenage girls to run away with boys for a few days. That's where I personally think and hope the girls are. We will keep on looking and praying for the girls. We were a little sad that Guillermo wont be able to progress and be baptized for a while, but a lot more sad about the missing girls. 

We are also teaching a man named Alberto right now. Alberto is about 50 years old. He has a disease where he can't grow any hair at all; not on his head, nor eyebrows, nor eyelashes, or anywhere. Alberto is one of the best people I have ever met. He is so so friendly and eccentric and loving. He is the kind of person that you have lots of energy and motivation to go and do good things after you talk with him. We found him because his Mom invited us into her house one day and he was there. (Grandmas always always invite us into their houses and just want us to be their grandchildren for a few hours.) He is a very happy person. He has an awesome family, a way good job (owns a mechanics shop), and not a lot of problems. It's a different experience teaching him. Up till this point in my mission, I have mainly taught and had success with people who have a lot of problems and need help in their lives. I have had much less success with the people who are already happy and don't have many needs. Alberto is happy and doesn't have a lot of needs, but loves the gospel also. The experience had been totally different with him and I don't really know why. He said the other day, "I feel like what you guys are teaching me is the missing piece of my life that I never knew was missing." I guess that is how it is. The gospel is for all people happy, sad, fat, and skinny. 

October 22, 2012

Things are going really really well. I feel like I am in an area that I like with a companion that I love, so I can't ask for much more. This week was really successful for Elder Romero and I. Sometimes I feel like the more I search and put lots of effort into finding new investigators, the less I find. And sometimes when I have a good group of instigators and am not particularly looking for new investigators, they come out of all places. (holes, rivers, trees, inside of playground equipment) This week Elder Romero and I were walking down the street in an area where we had never been before. Two kids ran outside of a house and told us that the missionaries used to play soccer with them. We asked if we could go in their house and they said sure. The family ended up being a family of 11 kids from one dad and one mom. (I know, right?!) They were totally nice and gave as dinner and asked us 345 times when we would be coming back. The only thing is that they are members of the Umbanda Church. The Umbanda Church is kind of the Argentine version of Voodoo that came in from Brazil. Lots and lots of people here practice it. They sacrifice chickens and dogs and stuff to I don't know who, but it's just a little strange and kind of scary for me. The Umbanda church would always do sacrifices in front of the chapel in Avellaneda and rub blood all over the gate. We will see how the things go through with the Familia Cora this week. 

Mom asked me what my plans are for when I get home. Not that it has been something that I have been thinking about a lot, but here is the plan. 1. Get home and eat all of the pancakes and Mexican food that I can in 48 hours. 2. Run and exercise off the 10 missionary kilos that I have been carrying around. 3. Get two jobs and earn money for school. (Start looking for a job for me! Not GV please.) 4. Work until June and then go to BYU for the Summer term. 4a. Matt told me that there is a spot saved for me in the apartment for summer term. 4b. Work at the MTC during summer term and for as long as I can. 5. Go to BYU in August. Steps 1-5: Search for beautiful young women to court.

October 15, 2012

This week was real real good. As much as I love and am going to miss the villa and its lifestyle (seriously), I am happy to be here in Tolosa. This week was a huge eye opener for me. My idea of Argentina in the last few months has become one of danger and robbings and dirt and poop and guns. But I had never been to Tolosa. There are flowers everywhere and the people are all really educated and nice and give you strange things to eat that you don't get in the ghetto. There are three universities close to my area, so there are tons of students walking around all the time. It's so so different. It's actually kind of refreshing.

Not only is Tolosa really beautiful, but it is full of work to do. This week we visited so many intelligent, interested quality investigators who were all so ready to accept baptism. It was amazing. Generally in my mission, I have kind of avoided wealthy areas because less people listen to you there. It's different here. All the people have money, but are just open to listen. It sounds strange, but the people here even reject you well. In Avellaneda, I was used to the typical Argentine reject, which consists of lots of bad words and asking why I feel the need to infringe of peoples privacy. The people here just tell you that they are very thankful for the notion, but they would really appreciate if we came back another time. Obviously, they don't really want us to come back another time, but they are so nice about it. It's refreshing. The members in Tolosa are pretty self-motivated and give a lot of references. So Elder Romero and I are not spending much time clapping doors or anything. 

Elder Romero is so so funny. This week he told me that he respects no man who doesn't have a mustache and that it caused a deep, searing pain in his soul everyday when he shaves. He is so Mexican and it makes me laugh so hard. I feel like I am living in Nacho Libre. Dream come true. He is 27. He finished all of his studies and is a professional architect. Even though I have a lot more time in the mission than him, I kind of feel like a little boy with him. He is totally cool though and lets me take the lead anyways. 

Our pinch is smaller than our family room. hahahah I can pretty much go to the bathroom, cook some eggs, take a shower, and lay in my bed at the same time. Seriously. It is just one big room and a tiny tiny bathroom attached. We do have hot water though. A hot shower felt so so good after four and a half months of cold showers. I don't really mind the tinyness of the pinch anyways, we are almost never inside of it. But a member did invite us to come and live in a house that they rent out behind their house. We went to check it out and it is so so big. We will see though. The member asked a lot of money for the rent, and I don't know if the mission will accept it or not. 

This week we had a baptism! It was a little strange because I had only taught the girl three times, but it was exciting anyways, We baptized an 11 year old girl named Ivanna. She is a granddaughter of one of the members. Ivannas parents are members, but inactive. She is super super smart, and goes to a special cool for genius children. She always tries to explain really complex math to me. I act like I already knew was she was explaining, but really have no idea whatsoever. I would send pictures, but this computer is not behaving.

I just got an email from the mission asking for some dates for the plane ride home. WHhhhhhaaaa?! Very strange.