December 30, 2008

Greetings From San Juan!

Hello again,

Not too much to report since Christmas. I still hate travel, but it wasn’t too bad because I got a direct bus. Oh, I’m in the province of San Juan now. The province that is famous for its heat. Yesterday wasn’t too bad, but today’s heating up nicely. Keeping on the positive side of things, I don’t think I’ve ever been so close to the sun. I’m in an area called Rawson, Boulevard, and Progreso. A ward, branch, and branch. Yup, three Church meetings that I get to go to. Fortunately there’s just one building. But the area is huge. Makes sense since it’s really three areas.

My companion is Elder Sime. His name may be Welsh, but his is from Peru. This is his last transfer so we’re trying to work hard and have lots of fun.

This is really the first time in my four and a half months in Argentina where I have seen any of the Elders from my MTC district. There are two of them in my Zone now.

Thanks for the picture [of the jackalope]. I’ll be sure to use it.

Don’t really have that much more to say. More next week.

Elder Will Budge

December 23, 2008

¡Felices Fiestas!

Hello again. Merry Christmas! ¡Felices Fiestas!

Felices fiestas. Happy parties. Yup, that’s Argentina. Continuing to take Christ out of everything including the Catholic Church.

It’s been really rainy lately. This seems to be because of the Calle Angustia festival. The story is this:

One day they moved the Virgin of the Calle Angustia. She got upset. So, now it rains every year during the festival so that nobody can party.

Fun story. I don’t think I’ve seen so much idolatry in my life. Well, with actual idols and all. I was reading the Bible Dictionary and something in the entry for Diana struck me as very familiar. You should read it. The description of the shrines for Diana is the exact description of every single Virgin that is outside every single house in Argentina. Maybe Paul needs to come here too...

Anyways, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, it’s Tuesday. It’s because my zone had the Christmas party in Mendoza yesterday. That was pretty fun. Santa came. We all got ties with cuff links and hankies. Too bad I don’t know any missionary with french cuffs. Maybe I’ll have to punch another hole in one of my long-sleeve shirts.

I got the package all right. Spent $70 on it. That’s pesos. I don’t know the current exchange rate, so you can figure it out. The CD made it fine. I was listening to it this morning. Some of the songs are not happy. Some on the Barenaked ladies one, the last three on the Rockapella. I don’t know what else. But thanks anyway, it’s great to have some Christmas music in this time where the only indication of Christmas (for me) is the fact that it is December 23rd.

As for the phone call, I’ll be calling at about 8 PM Argentina (not Buenos Aires) time. So that will probably be at about 6 or 7 your time. I think 6 with the time change, only Buenos Aires changed. Really they want the parents to call the cell phone in the pench, but that’s complicated and I don’t really know how it works. Cell phones in Argentina have really weird numbering things that get very complicated when calling one from outside Argentina. So, I’ll just go to a Locutorio and call you guys. I’ll be able to talk for about 45 minutes.

Oh! I would like a picture of the jackalope. I’ve been telling investigators about them and they want to see proof of their existence.

Other than that, I don’t think there’s much other news. The President confirmed that I’m out of Mercedes next transfer, but I don’t know where yet. So, the next time you hear... get an email from me it’ll be from somewhere else. That will also be on a Tuesday because transfers are on Monday.


December 15, 2008

Rain, I Don't Mind. (Five points to who can get that quote)

Hello again!

Well, it was another long week. And a wet one too. Turns out that I bought shoes out of a leather that just lets the water in. But that’s actually a good thing for how much rain we’ve had. Each time it’s rained like that the streets have turned into rivers. A couple times we were up to our knees. And the thing with shoes that let the water in is that they also let the water out. But we are off to the Center today to buy Grandma’s shoes, and we will make sure that those ones are waterproof.

It was the Stake Conference last Sunday. That was really cool. President and Sister Lindahl spoke. Then there was another guest speaker: Elder Zivic of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and of the Area Presidency. They were great talks. Elder Zivic was sure dropping a lot of cain on the members about retention and reactivation. But that’s good.

I’m glad that you all seem to be enjoying yourselves. And I’m glad that Andrew Yip is thinking about a mission. Last I talked to him he wasn’t.

Mom, a favor please. I could do with some recipes. Specifically your chocolate chip cookies. And your email made me think that your peanut butter balls would be good too. Of course that one depends on being able to get peanut butter. I bet I could use crema de Bon O Bon, though...

Anyway, it’s time to move on. We’re treating the rest of our district to Sloppy Joes today, and I want to see the Argentines freak out because it’s too spicy (Argentines would think that the mildest Taco Bell taco without any sauce would be too spicy). But maybe they’ll like it.

Oh. There’s an Elder in my district from Buenos Aires and he looks just like Billy Nixon. Weird.

Well, that’s all for this week.

Elder Will Budge

December 9, 2008

Argentine Christmas Traditions?

Hello again!

Whoops. Better turn the language setting on Word to Ingles so that I’m not dealing with all sorts of red squiggles.

There we go.

So, this week has been full of travel. Did you know that I hate traveling? I love going to all sorts of places, I just hate the travel. It was another Zone Conference this week, so another trip to Mendoza. And there’s another trip there in the works for the 22nd for a Christmas Party. It’ll be fun there, but before and after, not so much.

Don’t really know what I’ll do for Christmas here. Argentina seems to have no Christmas traditions of its own. Mostly they’re all stolen from the US. There are tons of Santa Clauses with elves and snow. In Argentina. It’s summer here. So, Santa Claus and Christmas trees here are not an adopted tradition from European immigrants like they are in the US, but are stolen from TV and movies. But they do have one inherited Christmas tradition that does not exist in the US. They have panetone. Only here they call it pan dulce, or sweet bread. They have the traditional kind with fruits inside, but they also have kinds with chololate chips or almonds or other things. They also have smaller, pound cake-sized versions called budin. I have a goal of getting a taste for the fruity kind so that I can help you eat your yearly panetone, Dad. So far I’ve only had a chocolate chip budin.

There’ll be more next week.


December 1, 2008

¡Feliz Cumple Villa Mercedes!

Hello again!

Happy Mercedes Day!!! Yup. Today is Villa Mercedes’ 152nd anniversary. So, I really don’t know what working tonight will be like.

This past week Elder Opheikens and I got a special visit from one of the four Assistants to the President. That’s right, we have four of them. And they all have companions who are not Assistants. Weird. It’s mostly because President Lindahll has a bad back and can’t travel that much, so they have to do all the traveling for him. It was a good time working with them. We worked extremely hard. Found some new people, taught some older people, baptized someone. It was great.

The baptism was a bit of an adventure. Everything went pretty well. Until the font was mostly full. Then both of the water tanks at the Chapel went dry. But we still had enough water for the baptism. And the water was back by the end of the day.

Not much other news. Zone Conference this week. I got some letters this past week. One of them was in a fun plastic sleeve with a note from the Argentine postal service telling me to get upset at the USPS instead of them for bashing up my letter.

I am going to go ahead and get myself an early Christmas present today of an electric shaver. I’m out of razor blades, and they don’t sell my razor here. And an electric one will make traveling for things like Zone Conference much easier.


Elder Budge

November 24, 2008


Hello! Greetings from Argentina!!!

Big news this week: Another Baptism!!!! WOOOOOO!!!!

Her name is Yamila (Jamilla, pronounced the same too) and she’s 14 years-old. Her mother is an inactive member who just wanted us to teach her the discussions as a support for this difficult teenage time of life. But it really worked out for everybody in the end. Yamila loves the church and comes to all the meetings and activities on her own. Well, I don’t know about mutual, but she comes to our “Chapel Night”. And she is excited to go on a mission of her own. So, that’s really cool. The not so cool part is that her mother has never come to Church or anything with Yamila, not even her baptismal interview. Sigh. Oh well.

We didn’t do anything for Thanksgiving, but that’s fine. I’m very excited for Christmas, though. Can’t wait. I love Christmas. But it’s gonna be really weird. Especially in the likely event that I get transfered next transfer because transfers are on Christmas Eve. Oh well, it’d give me time to get settled into my new pench.

As for missionary friends, I haven’t written a single one. The reason: I don’t have any addresses. If I had addresses I probably would. A letter to India or Mongolia would no doubt be cheaper than a letter to the EEUU (Estados Unidos). Seriously, a letter home costs at least 5 pesos. And I know that it’s cheaper to send letters to Canada.

Twilight seems to be a rediculously huge phenomenon among the pre-teen+ female set in the US. Especially among mormons. No doubt due to the author being LDS herself. I really don’t know what the appeal is. Granted, I’ve never read it.

The general opinions of Argentines on United Statesians (Everybody in the Western Hemisphere is technically an “American”) is there’s really only one horrible one, and that is George W Bush. So, pretty much they don’t know anything of anything outside Argentina. But we did run into one man. The dialogue went something like this:

Missionaries: Hi, we’re missionaries...
Guy: No. Not to me you’re not.
M: Oh? What are we to you?
G: North American spies.
M: We’re not spies.
G: Yes you are. You’re just here so that you can see how horrible our living conditions are and go back and laugh about it.
M: Um... Living conditions are about the same in many parts of the Unites States.
G: You people are horrible! You make needless war so that you can just make money off of killing people!

So, that conversation was very useless, but I guess there really are some people who think that we’re spies.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for this week. More to come! Baptismal pictures too!

Elder Will Budge

November 17, 2008

Another Email From Villa Mercedes

Hey all!

I love hearing from you, so keep writing!

News! Actually this should’ve been in last week’s entry, but I forgot...

We have new hours for the summer!!! Ahem...

07:30AM: Arise
08:00AM: Shower/Breakfast
09:00AM: Personal Study
10:00AM: Companionship Study
10:30AM: Leave and Work
13:00PM: Lunch
14:00PM: Study at the chapel, in a park, with members, work
15:30PM: Work
22:30PM: Plan for the next day
23:30PM: Sleep

So, there it is. I must say, waking up at 7:30 agrees much more with me than getting up at 6:30. Not sure why because it’s the same amount of sleep, but it does. And it means that we can talk with more people because everybody says “Come by after 8:30.”

I’m sure you’re all eager to hear about transfers, so here it goes:
Elder Neibaur se fue. But now I’m three for three with comps. Every single one of them is from Idaho. First Shelley, then Paul, now Rigby. By new companion is Elder Opheikens (Oh-pie-kins). He’s from Rigby, Idaho and is a real cowboy’s cowboy. Even as a missionary he looks like a cowboy, well as much as a missionary can. He’s cool, and works hard, but doesn’t stress out about anything.

We have a new baptismal date for a girl named Yamila. She’s the adopted daughter of a less-active member. She’s very excited about the Church, and even kinda wants to go on a mission. Only time will tell.

Well, that’s about all the news from Villa Mercedes right now.

Elder Budge

November 10, 2008

Last Email From Villa Mercedes???

Hello all!

Well, here it is, the middle of November. Well, the beginning of the double-digits of November. Either way, it’s starting to get really hot. Seems like the middle to me because I was filling out dates through the 24th of December this morning. I’m sorry if I confused anyone, transfers are this week, so we find out tomorrow at District Meeting and whoever goes goes on Wednesday. The transfer ends just before Christmas, so that’s rough for whoever moves next time.

A funny story that I’ve been forgetting for the last few weeks:

We were meeting with a family and the eight-year-old daughter was looking through one of those DK visual encyclopedias, “The Human Body” to be exact. On the page with babies she looked at the picture of a human embryo and said, “Look! Before babies are babies they’re empanadas!” So, apparently human embryos, and pretty much any other embryo, are empanadas. I bet they don’t taste like empanadas, though.

I heard the news of the election this week. Everybody has been talking about it here, which I think is weird. We don’t usually talk about everybody’s new president. But Argentines are all very excited about Obama and glad that Bush is out. I’m pretty sure they have no idea how our system works. Theirs is very corrupt. I heard that Obama won by over 100 electors. If that’s true, wow. I can’t remember an election like that. Of course all the elections that I’ve paid any attention to are those with Bush.

One TV station even said (I think this is common belief among all Argentines) that Bush was possibly the worst president in the history of the United States. Clearly they don’t know very much about US history.

Argentine moment of the day: the stop lights turn yellow before they turn green. A practice that I think should be adopted in the US.

News: President Lindahl has authorized emails from friends and extended family. But only as short messages attached at the end of my parent’s email. [] So, if you have something important to tell me like “I got into such-and-such a school!”, or “I’m getting married!” (hard for me to believe that I’m at that point where friends may start getting married), or “Such-and-such a friend is getting baptized!!!” send it to my parents and I’ll get it through the free Parental Censorship Board. Any of the last one are especially welcome. I would love to hear about any friends, or even friends of friends who are getting baptized.

That’s all for this week. More to come!

Elder Budge

November 3, 2008

Of Shoes and Ships and Sealing Wax, of Cabbages and Kings! ... Okay, Just of Shoes.

Hello again and happy November!

Well, I got some new shoes last Monday. Hurray! Now I have comfy, keep my feet try, Argentine shoes. I hope they hold up.

I also finally got all my letters sent off, so some of you should be getting letters from Argentina in the next week. Fun story, it was the first time that I was paid to send mail. I was mailing (with the more expensive shipping for my absentee ballot) 58 pesos-worth of mail. Somewhere in the exchange of money and letters the teller got confused. He ended up giving me my 100 peso bill back with four extra pesos. Elder Neibaur and I argued with him for about ten minutes and the people in line started to get irate. Finally we just left. We were walking along and decided to write a note, put the note and the money in an envelope, and leave it in a suggestion box. About six blocks later we heard somebody yelling, we turn and the teller was running after us. He caught up and said that we were right. I gave him the money, but he only had a pocket full of 100s, so we went back to the post office. So, that’s my fun story of the week.

We have started having a Family Home Evening with the ward on Thursday nights. Last week we acted out some of the miracles of Jesus. Sadly, Elder Neibaur and I were unable to attend due to an emergency trip to Mendoza. But we’ll be there this week for a great activity about scripture study and baking cookies.

Well, that’s really about all I have for this week. I’ll have more to talk about later.

Elder Budge

October 27, 2008

Dragons! Wait, dragons?

Hello again.

I will start off this week with what it actually was that I forgot last week. The topic: Emus.

So, last week we visited a less active family. The dad was in the back working on a broken motorbike. We went back there, I looked in a tree and the first thought I had was, “Dragon feet!” There were two scaly, three-toed feet up to the knee up in the tree. I then came to be rational and realized that they were, in fact, bird feet. But what kind of bird, I did not know.

It turns out that they were emu feet. I had forgotten that hunting emus is a popular passtime in Argentina. Apparently they hunt them with dogs. Well, and then there are all those fun pictures of gauchos hunting them with those three-ball stringy things.

So, there it is, emus.

Other than that, not too much to report. Transfers are coming up in two weeks and either Elder Neibaur or I are going. We’ve been together for two transfers now, and companionships don’t generally last longer than that. I suspect that it is I that will go. We have a bunch of families investigating, but they all need to get married, and none of them really want to yet. Whenever Elder Neibaur leaves an area there are tons of baptisms. These families need more time, so Elder Neibaur will get them ready to be married, then he’ll be transfered and whoever’s here will get about 12 baptisms. But we’ll see, there are still two weeks.

Speaking of Elder Neibaur, if you want something fun to do look up “Neibaur” under authors in the hymnbook. You’ll find a song that his great-something grandfather wrote. I forget his name, but he was the first Jew in the Church. Fun stuff.

Well, that’s it for now.

Until next week,
Elder Budge

October 20, 2008

¡Feliz Día de la Madre!

Happy Mother’s Day!!!!!

Yup, in Argentina Mother’s Day is the 3rd Sunday in October. So, needless to say with the Argentines looking for any excuse to drink and there being a River and Boca (the two biggest soccer teams in Argentina, I am yet unaligned. I may come home with a jersy for both) game, we had very little success finding people to talk to. Much less sober people to talk to. Oh, Boca won by the way.

So, this week was Zone Conference. That meant another long, arduous journey to Mendoza. But the conference was a great one. Our zone (San Luis) with only 12 missionaries, the smallest in the mission, had the most baptisms in October. Yay! Our Zone about doubled in size this conference as we were melded with the assistants and the office elders. Now we are the Zone “San Luis + Assistaff.” Kinda fun to say, huh?

Now, let me tell some about the journey to Mendoza. Our District Leader talked Elder Neibaur and I to go to the Conference on a higher class bus. Last time we went “semi-cama” and I couldn’t sleep, so I was all for the idea of going “cama”. Cama means bed. So, we got the more expensive tickets.

Last time Elder Neibaur and I were left without food, so we thought we’d be prepared. We decided that we would take peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with us. Fortunately for us one of the few places in Argentina that sells peanut butter is in our area. But they were out. So, we substituted Crema de Bon O Bon. Or Bon O Bon cream. I haven’t really seen Bon O Bons in the US, so I’ll explain what they are. They are chocolate covered wafer balls filled with a sugary peanut butter. And we were using the filling for our sandwiches. With such a sweet filling, we set out to find a less sweet jelly. We ended up traveling with six Crema de Bon O Bon and Grapefruit Jelly sandwiches. The first couple bites were rough, but after that it was really quite good.

The travel was just like last time. Go to San Luis, sleep there until 3, ride the bus for four and a half more hours. Except that we had to go to San Luis early because our District leader had to do a baptismal interview. So, he did the interview and we opened our mouths in front of the Chapel. Well, most of the other Elders did that. Elder Neibaur and I just sang in front of the Chapel for an hour and a half straight. It was a great time. One Elder, Elder Manqui (Mankey, like the pokémon) stopped a motorcycle. It was a cop. They talked for a little while. When the cop left, he climbed into the cab of a truck and talked with the driver.

When it came time to catch the bus to Mendoza, we all went and met up with the Hermanas at the terminal. The semi-cama bus came, and everybody but the four of us with cama tickets left. Fifteen minutes later the cama bus came. It was much nicer. Leather seats and all sorts of fancy stuff. It was great when the seat reclined. And then kept reclining. Unfortunately for me the cama seats don’t go all the way flat, so I still couldn’t sleep. Oh well, next time I’ll have to try 1st class.

At Zone conference I got permission to vote online. But I also got my ballot. So, I just voted this morning. I feel like an upstanding citizen. I just need to get it mailed now.

I thought that there was something else I was going to tell you, but I forgot what it was. Oh yeah, Argentina moment. Um... Yeah, I can’t think of anything right now, so I’ll leave Mother’s Day as the Argentina Moment.

Now I remember! A warning to all future missionaries!!! Do NOT buy Deer Stags. They will fall apart the first month in the field. The soles crack, the window falls out, then the whole sole starts to fall off. This is happening to my shoes. It has happened to other missionaries in my District. BEWARE DEER STAGS! That is all.

Until next week,
Elder Budge

October 13, 2008

Weirdest Tan Ever

Hello again. Is it as rainy there as it is here? It would seem that I got sent to the rainiest area in the Mission. Wouldn’t be bad if I didn’t have holes in the bottoms of my shoes. Oh well, I live.

Sadly, there’s not too much to tell this week. It’s Zone Conference this week, so that means mail for me. I hope. My district leader brought some mail back with him last week and I got some then, but I only got a political ad and not my absentee ballot. :S Oh well, what can you do?

So, I have developed a missionary tan. It’s a really bad one too. Especially since it gets weird at my hands. My thumbs and side of my pointer fingers are tan, but the rest of my fingers are not. This is a result of carrying a scripture case full of pamphlets and a Book of Mormon. It looks really weird. I tried taking a picture, but with the flash, you couldn’t see the tan. Pretty much I’m still very pale, but now I’m pale that goes to vampirical pale once the sleves/shirt starts.

We had FIVE investigators at Church yesterday! Huzzah! The Familia Castro and the mom from the Familia Ladesma. It was great. Then after Church we broke our fast at the home of the Ladesmas. They fed us an asado. Then we watched “The Restoration” with them in glorious 5.1 surround sound. Everybody had a great time. I don’t know if I’ve said anything about them before. They are about the perfect family. The parents are 27 and 26. They have two daughters, ages 8 and 2. The 8-year-old reminds me very much of my sister, Kelly, when she was that age. There is more love in that family than I have seen in most other families. They don’t drink, they don’t smoke. They have some coffee mugs that say “Hot Chocolate Drink Cocoa”. Except they do drink coffee. We haven’t talked about the Word of Wisdom with them yet. It’s hard to teach them the lessons because they always have so many questions.

And now, to theArgentina Asado Amazingness Amplitude Abliteration. Maybe I should give up on the alliteration. Anyway, it’s time for the Argentina moment. Today’s topic is Asado. If countries had a national food, Argentina’s would be asado. It’s basically just a lot of meat cooked over coals. And it’s a LOT of meat. And churizo(sausage) and often morcilla(I’m not sure how to spell it, but it’s blood sausage). But it’s very good. Lots of missionaries who serve in Argentina go home and build asado pits. That is an essential part of an Argentine house. The asado pit. Can’t be Argentine if you don’t eat asado.

Well, that’s all for this week. So long.

Elder Budge

October 8, 2008

¡¡¡Conferencia General!!

Wow! What a General Conference! That was the most hard-lined Conference that I can remember. There were fewer jokes than I have ever seen. Especially in Priesthood Session. But it was just so strong. Huzzah for new Temples! For those who missed it, here’s a list of the new Temples:

1) Somewhere in Alberta, Canada
2) CORDOBA, ARGENTINA (This is great news for the Mission. A new Temple in just the next mission over. It makes Temple trips for the Members much, much easier. Now they will no longer have to make the huge trip to Buenos Aires or the expensive and still longish one to Santiago, Chile. Cordoba is still a good long ways away from Villa Mercedes (the second farthest area away in our mission. The first is Justo Daract, 20 minutes from Mercedes). But it makes the Temple infinitely more accessible to the less well-off members.)
3) Kansas City Area, USA
4) Philadelphia, PA, USA (I don’t know why exactly, but this is the newly announced Temple that I am most excited about.)
5) Rome, Italy (I very much enjoyed this announcement. I laughed at all the gasps in the Conference Center. Then laughed more when they realized how silly they were being and laughed at themselves.)

To answer a question that may be asked: yes, I get to watch Conference in English. Well, I do when there are the facilities and another Elder to watch with me. And there were.

Elder Aidukaitis continues to amaze me. He is one of my new favorites. He is a newly called Seventy who gives talks just like a member of the Twelve. He is a great man who knows what he is talking about.

But, enough about Conference. Everybody reading this can just watch/listen/read it yourselves and get your own opinions.

On the bus yesterday I looked out the window and saw something that made me chuckle. I’m sure it didn’t actually say this, but it looked like it. I saw a sign that said “Abogados – Cantadores” which, being interpreted (can you tell I’m reading the New Testament?) is “Singing Lawyers”. I’ll let your imaginations go with this for a little while.

Finished? Good. Other than that, not much more going on here. Just going back to work. None of our investigators ever go to Church, even when they say they will. This makes me sad. It makes me remember my birthday parties in High School. If I had had birthday parties in High School. Invite everybody, but end up just having the two of us at the party. Rather depressing. But I don’t let it get me down. We keep trying. And so we must if Zion is to go forth and grow.

And now it’s time for the Magical Musical Moment of Argentine Culturestuffs. Milk. And yogurt. Those are the topics today. There are no jugs of milk. Milk and yogurt both come in 1 liter bags. So, once you open it you put the bag in the bottom part of a cut-apart gaseosa (soda) bottle. Yogurt also comes in cups, but it’s more expensive. And the bag yogurt is a drinkable yogurt. But much better than the drinkable yogurt in the States.

For those expecting a letter, I apologize. I will not be able to send them until after the next Zone Conference. Sorry.

Until next week,
Elder Budge

September 29, 2008

Time Just Keeps Rolling Along

Well, here it is, another week. It's Transfers this week, too. I'm pretty sure I'm not getting transfered. At least, I haven't heard anything about getting moved. I've only been in the field for one transfer and I already have cracks in the bottoms of my shoes. It's not too bad because it doesn't really rain. Except for yesterday. It rained a lot yesterday. So, I came home with wet feet. Hopefully my shoes will be dry by the time I head out today.

So, it's been about seven weeks since I've had a haircut. I was going to get one today, but there was a surprise (for me) birthday party for our district leader. I had no idea that it was going to happen. Then I had no idea that the whole Zone was going to be there. So, that was an adventure. But the point of this parragraph was that my hair is approaching Derek Zoolander-like altitudes.

Not too much else to tell other than we have a family that's going to be baptized. There's a husband and wife and four children, all under 12. The children, not the parents. The dad, Favian, was smoking 40 cigarettes a day and then just stopped cold turkey. Then he stopped us on the street and said that he wanted our help. The family had a baptismal date for the 11th, but they were stopped in coming to Church this week because of visitors. When we went by to pick them up the kids were all dressed and ready for Church. So, we'll have to tell them that they'll have to be baptized on the 18th instead now.

The Argentina factoid of the week: Tile, it's everywhere. The only buildings/rooms that I have seen that are not tile or dirt (ie carpeted) are in the chapels of the Church buildings. But only of our buildings. I haven't been in any of the others.

For those concerned, I recieved two letters from two people at the last Zone Conference. I have written to both of you but for various reasons (time and financial) have not been able to send the letters. Please be patient. Thank you.

Until next week,
Elder Budge

September 22, 2008

¡¡¡Feliz Primavera!!!

[Will's first baptism]

Hello All,

Happy Spring! The first day of Spring was wonderful. The 21st of September. Except for you all it’s the first day of Fall. I’m sorry, but I’ll take Spring. It’s a much more pleasant season for me. But a hot Christmas is still going to be weird, I think.

I had a baptism on Saturday. His name is Ramiro Fierro. It was the first time I baptised someone in my life. I was very nervous, but when the time came I just said what I needed to and it went without a hitch.

I feel I should talk a bit about ice cream. There are all sorts of ice cream places here in Villa Mercedes. Apparently San Luis is famous for the ice cream. I haven’t had any yet. I’m begining to doubt if I ever will. Every day we wait for the bus across the street from an ice cream shop that looks very good. We have been offered ice cream from there before, but rejected the temptation because we were late. But then this week we met our goals for the day and would’ve had enough time to get ice cream and get home on time. So we stopped by the ice cream shop. It was closed. Clearly I am not meant to have good ice cream on my mission.

I apologize for the shortness of entry this week. I really just can’t think of what to say.

Oh yeah! I almost forgot the Argentina culture fact thing. People put dogs on their roofs. When they leave the house they put the dog on the roof so that it can walk around, but won’t wander off. So, there are dogs on the roofs all over the place.

Well, until next week,
Elder Budge

Pictures: Setting up for Church... before and after.

September 15, 2008

More email newsy stuffs

Hello All;

Well, another week here in Villa Mercedes(Viya Mercedes(like the car)). It's starting to get pretty hot here. Spring officially rolls in on Sunday, so all the trees are starting to get leaves and it's increasingly beautiful. Of course with newly living trees comes the realization that I'm very allergic to one of the most common trees here in Argentina. I'm not sure what it's called, but it has this white/grey camouflage-looking bark and it has these weird ball things from the branches; and I sneeze like none other every time I am under one.

Other than that things go well. Lunches at members' houses are delicious, albeit a little bland. But that's food in Argentina. They have this food called Milanesa. It's basically thin bits of beef fried like chicken. Similar to chicken-fried steak, a food that I was introduced to at the MTC, but better.

They have these really good kind of cookie here called Alfajor(pronounced alfahore). They're basically a sandwich cookie with two or three cookies, and in between the cookies is some sort of thing, usually dulce de leche. And the whole thing is coated in chocolate. I have had some really rich ones.

Other things... Hmmm... Ramiro is getting baptized this week. This is very exciting for everyone involved. Yay!

Well, until next week,
Elder Budge

September 8, 2008

Meh, I'll let you guys come up with a title for this one, I can't think that hard right now.

Hello again!

This week was my first Zone Conference. As such, I got my first batch of mail. I would like to thank those of you who sent me letters. I haven’t really gotten a chance to read them yet since I can’t read them until P-day and up until right now I’ve been cleaning. As for the rest of you, just so you know, I get mail every six weeks at Zone conference. It’s very fun and exciting to get mail. Especially since I can only get it every six weeks. Also, I will try my hardest to write everyone back. As I can only write back on P-day, I will always try to get something back to you so that you can, if you wish, write back before the next Zone Conference. Anyway, enough about that; more about Zone Conference.

Zone Conference was really cool. We left Villa Mercedes at 7 PM to get to San Luis at about 8:30 PM. Then we slept there. For about four hours. We got up at 2 AM so that we could get on our bus to Mendoza at 3. We got to Mendoza at about 6:30, a surprisingly short trip. I suspect the bus driver was going way too fast. But I somehow managed to sleep on most of it, so it was all good.

The featured speaker at the Conference was Elder Aidukaitis, a new member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and Second Councilor of the South America South Area Presidency. He had a lot to say. He made it seem like we will soon start working during the Siesta, but President Lindahl hasn’t said anything about that yet.

Elder Neibaur was diagnosed with strep on Tuesday. He’s doing much better now, though.

We were stopped on the street this last week by a kid who told us that he has problems with all sorts of drugs and wants to change. We invited him to Church and gave him a book of Mormon with a chapter marked for him. He said that he’d come. He didn’t. Oh well, we can only hope that he’ll show up one of these weeks, we foolishly didn’t get his address.

On Tuesday we’re holding a special Family Home Evening for our investigators/new converts/less-active members. It’s going to be one of those play out the Plan of Salvation type things. I know that the Mt. Vernon Stake had one of those last year. We’re very excited for it.

And now, some Argentina Fun Facts. Okay, really just one, but it’s a good one.

This fact goes out to all those Utahns and people who just love that perfect blend of ketchup and mayonnaise: Fry Sauce.

I bet you all thought that it was an invention of Utah. You’d maybe be wrong. I only got this information off of the back of a bag of Helman’s Salsa Golf. Fry sauce exists in Argentina too. Only here it’s called Salsa Golf, or golf sauce. Anyway, according to the back of the package, some Argentine invented it as he was sitting around at the golf club in 1973 or something like that. I really have no idea who really made it, or what the circumstances were. But fry sauce, or salsa golf, is everywhere in Argentina.

So, until next time,
Elder Budge

September 1, 2008

Another Week, Another E-mail

Well, now I've had another week to acclimatize myself to Villa Mercedes. As of last night we have officially ventured to every part of our Area. At least I think so. I'm not positive, but it's close. Still not used to these Spanish keyboards.

The Spanish that people speak here is kinda different from what I grew up hearing. That probably has to do with the fact that I grew up hearing Mexican Spanish from the teachers and El Salvadorian Spanish from the kids. This is Argentine Spanish, or Castellano as they call it. It's slightly different. The "ll" and "y" make a "sh" or "jh" sound. It's hard to describe in writing. They also use quite a few Italian words. The ones that I have noticed the most are "ciao" and "basta."

The people here are really great. In my ward, Hipolito Yrigoyen, there are some new members, a father and a son named Moyano. They are really cool and both love music. Jorge, the father, plays the accordion extremely well. So well that it´s to the point where I want to learn how to play the accordion. Marco, the son (age:24), plays guitar, bass guitar, and some piano. Dad, I think that you would really like them. They're both very strong in the church, and know more about some of the deeper, cooler stuff of the Gospel than many who have been in the Church for their whole lives. Every time we go over to their house they always keep us there a little longer than we should be because we always end up singing hymns with them and they always ask for one more. Mostly we go over to their house to talk with Marco's friend Bruno. Except that we've only seen him there once...

We have two other investigators with baptism dates. Both related (genetically and not) to another new member named Gabriela. First is Alexis. He is Gabriela's 13-year-old nephew. He was actually supposed to get baptized this coming up weekend. Then he was sick and missed a week of Church. Then he missed this week too. It's sad. I hope he keeps coming and gets baptized.

The other is Ramiro. He's Gabriela's on-again-off-again boyfriend. But he came to Church this week and really likes it. He's very smart. I'm not used to having someone pay so much attention to me when I'm talking. Granted, I'm still not talking all that much. It would seem that the new language has brought about a return of shyness that I have overcome in English.

My companion is Elder Neibaur. He's from somewhere in Idaho. Near Boise, I think. He's pretty cool. He sure knows what he's doing. I don't know if there's ever been a companionship with both names that are very hard for the locals to pronounce like ours are. Yesterday we were talking with a couple older men, and one of them stopped a couple of girls who were walking down the street just to see if they could read our names.

Well, there are lots of dogs here. They're everywhere. Some are pets, most are not. They just hang around. Follow you sometimes.

Please send me mail. I get my first batch of mail on Wednesday, we have a conference with Elder Aidukaitis and then we have Zone Conference. I would love to get mail then. Remember, you can send mail through USPS, through Pouch, or through Dear

Oh! Yesterday, being the fifth Sunday, there was a combined Priesthood/Relief Society. They gave us a tour of, but the Spanish page. It looks really cool. I can hardly wait two years before I can play with it myself.

Well, I have attached a video giving a wonderful tour of where I live. [The clip he attached actually was two seconds of MTC footage. I don't know what happened to the attachment he intended to include - JRB]

So, until next week,
Elder Budge

August 25, 2008

I Survived!!!

Well, I seem to have survived the trip. The biggest adventure right now is probably typing this. 1) This keyboard is weird. 2) I need to get used to typing on a Spanish keyboard. Anywhoo, as I continue to be serenaded by the 80's hits in this gas station I will write my message.

First off, some... ugh, I've only been out of the country for a week and I'm already forgetting words... Logistics! That's the word. Firstly, email is for family only, so anyone else will have to send letters by snail mail or dear elder. Sorry. Secondly, packages. Anyone is free to send packages but they should only come around Christmas and my birthday (Apr. 24).

Okay, now for the trip. Pretty much, I didn't sleep for two days. But the traveling went off without a hitch. Except one Hermana (our travel leader) didn't show up. We had no idea what was going on since that was very uncharacteristic for her. When we got to Buenos Aires we found the other Hermanas from our MTC district and they said that her birthday on her passport was wrong.

We got the chance to go through the Buenos Aires Temple as we waited for our flight to Mendoza. It was pretty scary in Spanish.

So, then we got to Mendoza and got our assignments. I'm working in the province of San Luis in a very nice little town called Villa Mercedes. It's very nice here and everyone is very friendly, especially the Members.

Nothing too scary. Except that as we were walking by a meat store called Quickfood to meet some recent converts there was an experience. We saw a man walk out with two boxes, presumably full with money, point a revolver at the security guard then at my companion and myself before he shoved it in his pants and rode off on a motorcycle. That was scary, but unusual.

Other than that, I can't think of a much safer place than here.

On Saturday there was a special Priesthood conference. It was a Q&A with Elder Scott for the Saints in Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay. It was really cool. One brother asked if people with mental illnesses needed to be baptized. Elder Scott's answer was quick and short. "No. They are covered by Christ's Atonement."

Not much else going on. We have a baptism in a couple weeks.

Sorry for the continuation of no pictures. Next week, I promise.

Until then,

Elder Budge

August 12, 2008

6... 5... 4... 3... 2...

Well, things continue to move along. We met with the Consul today. He was a very nice and funny man. He seemed somewhat annoyed at having to coach our pronunciation, but we got through that part quickly. I had thought that I would be pronouncing "yo me llamo" as "jo me jamo", but I was wrong just the regular old "yo me yamo." El Señor Consul tought us how to make the "ñ" on the keyboard. It's "Alt 164."

He got extremely passionate when he started talking about the food. He told us to just have steaks and things all the time because you can get amazing beef for as much as a hamburger at McDonalds. And he condemned us if we put ketchup on our meat or bleu cheese or thousand island dressing on our salads.

When we asked him to tell us about Mendoza he said, "Now, you're the lucky ones." That made all of us going to Mendoza very excited. The most common phrase among us since then has been "I'm so stoked for Argentina!!!"

Now comes the part of the week where I keep thinking "I'll do better next week", but just keep doing the exact same thing. Maybe it will chage when I get to Argentina, maybe not. But I know there was something I wanted to talk about, but have now forgotten. Hm... Don't really know. Maybe I'll think of it.

So, it's my last week here at the MTC. ... Oh yeah! I got my FLIGHT PLANS on Friday! So, the three Hermanas in my district who are giong to Buenos Aires fly from SLC to DFW and then to Buenos Aires. The rest of us are going to Mendoza. For the most part we are going from SLC to LAX to Santiago, Chile to Buenos Aires. But there is one Elder in my district who parts ways with us in LA. He gets to go through Lima, Peru. And he gets to Buenos Aires a good two hours before the rest of us. Oh well, that's life. Um... I would give everybody my flight numbers, but I can't remember them right off the top of my head. I mailed them home, so maybe someone can post the flight info for anyone who's interested once they get there.

We had the Health and Safety lecture. When they started talking about scavies my district all just looked at each other.

Not too much else exciting other than that in one week from now I'll be in Argentina.

Only two more times of service. I really need to take before and after pictures so that you can all see the wonder that we work turning the gym into a mini-conference center.

So, I don't know when I'll be able to write next because I don't know where I'll be or when my p-day will be.

Well, my creative well has run dry. Well, probably not, but my nose has started bleeding again. That's one thing I don't understand. My nose has just randomly been bleeding here. I have no idea why. It can't be the altidtude since I lived just down the street for the last eight months. Unless a few feet make that big of a difference. Maybe it's the food. I really don't know.

Speaking of food (because I don't think I mentioned it last time because I think it happened since), The MTC food is sometimes really gross, sometimes really good. But the other day I had a really gross experience. I looked in my beans and I found a nut. Yes, a nut. And not the edible kind. It was made of steel. And there was a pea inside. I found that quite amusing. I don't really know where it came from, but I decided that I had better have cereal for that dinner.

For those who wish to continue writing me here are some options:

1) I hear that this works in the mission field. I belive it costs something, same as US postage, I think. I have heard that the mission president prints them off weekly.

2) Pouch Mail-- I believe that my pouch address is on the site here. At least it should be. This is probably the most reliable way for me to get a hand-written letter. You send a one-sheet of paper letter, folded in three and taped closed with the addresses on it, to Salt Lake through the USPS. From there somebody brings it down with them to Argentina. I get it at a mission conference or Zone conference. Apparently it comes every six weeks or so.

3) USPS international mail-- This is more expensive and not so reliable. The Argentine mail is rather corrupt. They open mail, so if you send it this way, cover it with Catholic stickers, they'll respect it. Also, I heard from a Chilean teacher here whose brother served in Mendoza that the mail workers went on strike and burned all the mail, so beware.

4) E-mail-- This is definitely going to be the most reliable way to get to me. I will be able to check my email once a week, and respond then too. My mission email is: I do not know if I will be able to use any other email, that is up to my mission president. If I can, I'll let you all know.

Well, I have now, for the first time, effectively used my email time to the point where the countdown timer clock is blinking at me. Godspeed to all of you.

Next time in Argentina,

Elder Budge

Post Script: Will's travel schedule --

Delta 1735 to LAX Departs 9:35 a.m. Arrives 10:44 a.m. Aug. 18, 2008

LanChile 601 to Santiago, Chile Departs 1:20 p.m. Arrives 5:25 a.m. Aug. 19, 2008

LanChile 1447 to Buenos Aires Departs 6:25 a.m. Arrives 9:25 a.m. Aug. 19, 2008

August 5, 2008

T-13 Days and Counting...

Well, here it is, thirteen days until I head for Argentina. Yup. Not too much happened this week, so I will share some highlights/insights/commentary about other, more general things. Maybe.

Apparently there has been an outbreak of Yellow Fever in Argentina. Good thing that I could be bothered to go to the travel clinic that Kaiser told me about to get one. Yup. Fortunately it's in the north and northeast of the country, so I should be fine.

In the past few weeks they moved a lot of couches into the building where my classroom is. This was a welcome development because, quite frankly, couches are comfortable. Upon closer inspection the couches seem to be the very same couches that have been the apartments at BYU's Heritage Halls. I think I may have found my old couch, but maybe not. This must mean that Heritage has new couches. Huzzah for all living there this fall.

In other news, the time here is beginning to get to those in my district. Normally the Elders start doing wild and crazy things as a result of cabin fever. But no, it was the Hermanas. Yesterday at dinner two of the Hermanas decided to have a chugging contest. They downed the first glasses of water, but spilled all over themselves during the second round.

Today was, very likely, the last time I will go to the Temple for two years. Next week I will be meeting with the Argintine Console, and the week after that I'll be in Mendoza. Hopefully I'll be able to go before I come back to the States. If I do my job right (and they build with a mad fury) we will have a Temple in Mendoza. Or I can hope that they finish the bullet-train from Mendoza to Buenos Aires quickly and that my mission president will let us take it to go to the Temple. I would say that one is less likely to happen, but who knows. Ojala que si.

I must say, I am rather impressed with myself. I have come to this entry today with less planned out than usual, and yet I have managed to write more than usual in less time. Amazing how those things work.

I have seen several people I know so far. Most recently Billy Nixon and Paul Cunha. Neil Steinburg comes in tomorrow. We're all going to try to take the cliche pointing at the map picture this Sunday. Given that we all somehow get the word to each other in time. And, bonus in the picture, Tommy Crompton and maybe one other Elder from Northern Virginia will join us.

Speaking of Northern Virginia, there is a teacher in my zone by the name of Hermano (I don't know his first name) Caramello who is from Burke. It's always nice to see people from back home. He's really funny.

Um... Not much else going on. Really gotta go so that I can get my suit to the dry cleaners and Elder Roy can get some dryer sheets. So, until next week and the six-day mark, farewell.

Elder Budge

July 29, 2008

Attack of the SCAVIES!!!!!

This week has been an eventful one. Firstly, one of the rooms in my Zone had an outbreak of a tropical ailment from the comfort of the MTC. They noticed weird rashes one day and found out that they were scavies. For those of you who don't know, I sure didn't know, scavies are bedbug-like insects that burrow into your skin to lay their eggs and die. It is sad that at the beginning they were treated like lepers. Shouts of "Unclean!" could be heard down the hall and jokes were made about them holding bells. But then they started treatment and everything was as normal. Those poor Elders had to dry clean all their clothes and have their room fumigated.

Now for the really exciting news of this week:


The two districts in our Zone that are ahead of us and going to Mexico are very upset. District A for Awesome/Argentina had a meeting with the travel people today and they took our fingerprints for the visas. The Consollate is coming on August 12th, so things are looking very good for getting out of the MTC on time.

Now I reach the point where I can't think of what to write and the computer closes the window on me so I have to start all over again.

I hope that you all enjoy this blog. A small look into the most interesting bits of life at the MTC. Thank you for reading and for your support.

Elder Will Budge

July 22, 2008

Gettin' (Spiritually) Strong Now!

Well, here we are again. P-day of week six. Wow. I've been here for almost five complete weeks. I'm starting to forget the outside world. Actually, that's kinda true... :S

Anyway, I have noticed something during my weeks here. There seems to be an unofficial theme song of the MTC. No, it's not "Called to Serve." It's not even Church related at all. It's the Rocky theme song. Kinda weird, I know, but everybody sings it at least once here. Usually before the weekly Teaching Appointment or before going to the Referral Center. I know I sing it about every day. Maybe it's just my district, but I think I've heard other missionaries do it too.

This week was pretty good. I got to do a chat for the first time at the RC this week. That was really cool. I talked for fifty minutes with this woman. She started the whole thing off by asking me how I know that the Church is true. Then we got on the Book of Mormon. The biggest problem she had with it was that she has issues with corrupt leaders (in this case the writer[s] of the Book of Mormon). So, I gave her the example of King Benjamin and the reference of his address. She said that she'd check out the BoM from her library that night. I told her that she could just order her own for free at the bottom of the page. She did that after I convinced her that all that would happen is that she might get a phone call making sure that she got the book. After that she asked me about the Church services.

She asked who could take the sacrament. She said that she was using "Mormonism for Dummies" as a reference and that it probably wasn't a good resource. I, being who I am and reading random books I find in Barnes & Nobel, knew that it was actually a very good resource because it was written by a couple of "Ensign" editors, and I let her know that. By the end she had committed to go to Church that week. I wish that I could have talked with her some more, but I had to go to dinner, so I transfered her.

The Temple is open again. Huzzah! It makes P-day so much better.

Um... I forget how much I've said about my teachers, so I'll say some more. Hermano Mortimer is hilarious. He makes the same faces and vocal inflections as Jack Black. It's very entertaining. Then there's Hermano Pearson. He's kinda fun, he's way more serious, though. But he lets us play fun games sometimes. He got married a couple weeks ago so he was gone for a while. While he was gone we had Hermano Gonzales. He's hilarious. He's from Chile, so we got to learn idioms and things. He didn't care too much about lesson plans, so we pretty much just learned what he felt like teaching.

Um. That's about it for this week. I continue hoping (as I am doing laundry right now) that my laundry will fare the way it did my first week.

Until next week,
Elder Budge

July 16, 2008

On Legendary Foods, Temple Cleaning, Health, and Laundry

Greetings from the end of MTC week 4. Not too much exciting happening this week. But there have been some cool things.

After three and a half weeks of waiting, we were finally graced with a dinner of chicken cordon bleu. Mmmmmm.... so good...

My health has been improving. I'm almost through all my antibiotics, but I can't tell if it's been working because my ear never really bothered me. But the sinuses are doing better. It's down to mild-cold status.

This morning was pretty cool. My district had the opportunity to clean the Temple. We showed up at 8 this morning, and they let us in. They gave us these really sweet white scrubs to wear while we were cleaning. First thing they had Elder Roy and I do was wipe a new marble floor down with glass cleaner. Then we started on the windows of the entrance. Then we were sent to the back. There they had us work on digging out an old planter. Essentially, we were taking the dirt out of a 15-foot tall planter box. I'm still not sure how far the dirt went, we heard that it went all the way down. It wasn't too exciting, but I made it more fun by saying that we were digging a tunnel to Hell so that we could be better ready for the final battle at the end of the Millenium.

Not much else this week. My teacher, Hermano Pearson, comes back tomorrow. He's been gone for a couple weeks because he got married. In his place we had Hermano Gonzales. He's really cool. He's Chilean, so we got to ask him about the culture and idoms and things. He's really funny, too.

As for my schedule, not much is going on there. Wake up, eat, go to gym, shower, class, eat, class, eat, class, plan, sleep. That's most of my week right there. Sometimes gym and class are switched. Those days throw things off a little.

My zone does have one tradition. The night before anybody leaves we sing "Hasta Ver", or "God Be With You 'Till We Meet Again" in Spanish.

Ummm.... Not much else going on other than my continued frustration at the laundry. As of right now I have:

1 lost sock

Continued extra time on my darks washer

1 darks dryer that didn't dry them at all and I paid for twice

1 whites dryer that wouldn't start after I paid for it because the buttons were smashed in, but that somebody else got to start

We'll see what this weeks laundry casualties are this week in a few minutes.

Well, good luck to you all. Please keep writing, I'll keep replying.

Elder Budge

July 8, 2008

On Roommates, the 4th of July, Illness, Leadership, and Four-square

Well, another week, another email. There's a lot that's happened this week. First we got our new roommates. They're going to Equador. Funny thing is, they were originally assigned to Russia.

The 4th of July was alright. It was just like a normal day, but there was a special assembly that we went to. They gave us chimes made out of pipe and we played patriotic and pioneer songs on them. The pioneer songs confused me because it would make sense for us to have another thing for the 24th. Anyway, I wish I had gotten video of at least part of the chime stuff. It was like the entire MTC was playing "Chime Hero."

After the assembly they set us go outside (the building, not the fence) and stay up past our bedtimes to watch the Stadium of Fire fireworks. Honestly, they were pretty lame. At one point we could kind of hear Miley Cirus singing. Sort of. I forgot to bring my camera, so I can't upload the video of the finale that I got.

All of the 4th I had a bit of a sore throat. Then on Saturday it felt very much like I had a sinus infection. So, I went to the clinic yesterday (since it's closed on the weekends) and it turns out that in addition to the sinus stuff (which the doctor only told me to take dayquill and benedryl for) I have an inner-ear infection, so I got to get some amoxycillin. The ear infection was a bit of a surprise news. I haven't had one of those for years. Anyway, I'm on dayquill/benedryl and antibiotics, so I'm doing better.

Our district leader is heading down to the Republica Dominicana on Thursday. Because of this we got a new DL on Sunday. Let me preface this with my relationship with leadership positions. I don't really care for them, but they seem to have a strange attraction to me. Out of the last 7 years I have spent maybe five months not in a leadership role. As such, I was not surprised when I walked into Sacrament meeting and President Houck pulled me aside. So, now I'm the DL. Which basically means that I run meetings and get the mail. Exciting stuff.

A follow up on MTC four-square:
Sometimes Elders get bored after hours and hours of MDT (Missionary Directed Time). For example, the Elders in my District decided to play four-square in our classroom last night before planning. They drew a square on the floor with chalk and bounced a little Mundo (a stress ball in the shape of the world) around at each other. It was very exciting. The Hermanas were all every excited about it when they saw it. Well, except for the one who got disappointed when she learned that we weren't practicing verbs.

Anyway, that's all for now. I'll try to get on later today to see if I can't send some pictures/video. I'm not sure if I'll be able to, they have very strict computer systems that I am pretty sure I can't get around.

Until next week,
Elder Budge

July 1, 2008

Part II

Well, I'm back. Doing laundry right now. So, I have remembered some of the things I was going to say.

Last week one of the sisters in my district broke her finger while playing sand volleyball. A warning to all who want to play volleyball: mind your fingers. Gym continues to be a unique experience. Never have I seen such intense a game as four-square at the MTC. The elders here get way into it. It's even scary to watch.

Well, I continue to not be as organized as I thought I was.

Went to the Temple today. I thought it was interesting, I found a painting by Dale Fletcher. A painting of the temple site before there was a temple there.

Like I said before, my Russian-speaking roommates are gone. That means that Elder Roy and I will probably get new roommates tomorrow. This week has been very nice without any other roommates. Oh well, that's life at the MTC.

Continued thanks to all who send me mail. Also, I encourage everyone to send me mail. I will be able to write everyone back as long as I am in the MTC.

Also, a note on mail while I am in Argentina. If you do not want your mail to me to be opened before it gets to me, put Catholic stickers on the envelope and they'll respect it. Some of my district have known people on missions in Argentina and it works.

Until next week,
Elder Budge

Part I

Hey All,

Well, here it is, my second Preparation Day. Yes, it's Preparation day and not P-day. Apparently the Church is trying to move away from abbreviations. Makes things here at the MTC complicated. Oops, I mean Missionary Training Center. Everything here is abbreviated.

Anyway, it has been an interesting week. Saw my first group of new missionaries after my own. My Russian roommates moved out and with some other Russians. And then last night a missionary blew an entire burrito out of his nose. Don't ask me how or why.

I was going to write a lot, but now that I'm here and using up my email time, I seem to have forgotten what I was going to say. Next week's will be an improvement.

Anyway, until next week. Or possibly later today, I still have 20 minutes.

Elder Budge

June 24, 2008

First Letter

Well, I made it. Everyone was saying that the first few days were the worst and that it would get better after Sunday. So far, that's true. It's really crazy here right now, and not just because of the first week. There is a Mission President seminar going on for the new Presidents, so all of the Quorum of the Twelve and all of the First Presidency are here. Rumor has it that Elder Hales will be speaking at the devotional tonight. Very exciting.

I got to meet my new Mission President. He seems like a lot of fun.

My companion is Elder Roy from Shelley, Idaho. He's fun, enjoys himself a lot here.

When I got here on the first day, it was very confusing. They had put Elder Roy and myself in a room with a couple missionaries learning Russian. Russian and Spanish, strange combination, huh? We all suspect that the Russians will be moving this week, we'll see. Our zone is getting another new district this week. That's two in as many weeks, that's a lot of new missionaries.

I got some CDs of the Himnos (Hymns in Spanish). Unfortunately, they don't always agree with my CD player. In fact, they usually disagree in every way.

Other than that, everything's going fine. We've pretty much caught up to the ten years of Spanish that I had already. It's a lot really fast. Elder Roy is learning particularly fast. I'm very impressed and proud of him.

I'm doing the MTC Choir. So far it's pretty fun, even though I've only been to one rehearsal and we sing at the devotional tonight. It's a very fun arrangement of "Joseph Smith's First Prayer." We're allowed to record at the rehearsal, so I'll probably send recordings of the choir.

Thanks to everyone who has sent me letters. I've gotten five already. I really appreciate it. Probably the easiest way to get letters to me while I'm at the MTC is through

Thanks for all your support, and I'll do my best to get on every week to keep you all updated.

Elder Budge

June 19, 2008

It's Official

Here's Will about an hour before entering the MTC. We dropped him off at about noon on June 18. There was a short meeting with family and friends, then all the missionaries were gone. Will saw one of his BYU roommates who was entering the MTC on the same day, and they walked through the Missionary Exit door together. He's now off on his big adventure. I'll try to keep his blog updated with information and letters as I get them.

June 9, 2008

Many Thanks

I'd like to thank everyone who came to my send-off open house. I appreciate your support. Thanks also to everyone else who wished me luck even though they couldn't make it. Thank you.