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