December 28, 2009

Gospel Principles

Hellos.

So, like Dad said, not much to say after having talked on Friday. Nothing really new. Some exciting news on investigator fronts, though. Carlos Santana came to Church. His wife and children did not because of illness or something of the sort. He really enjoyed it. Turns out that he is the former boss of about half of the active members, so he felt at home. The lesson in Gospel Priciples was “Exaltation” and proved interesting. Carlos was there, as were an investigator of the other Elders and a young couple that has been baptized for a few months and just come here for the Summer. I was watching Carlos carefully to see how he would react to things in the lesson such as “in exaltation we become gods” and “God was once a man like us.” Some of those truly unique doctrines that are fun to find in the Gospel Principles book. He didn’t seem too upsetted by them, just had a look of “wow, I’ve never thought of that before.” I hope we can get him and his family baptized before he moves.

We have another investigator named Marcia. Her mother recently died and she has found our meetings very helpful. She even told us that she knows the Church is true and that she wants to be baptized. She understands that you have to go to Church first, though. This is the problem. She feels bad about going to Church because her mother died hating the Church. She said that one day she’ll get over that, but doesn’t know when. All we can do now is pray that that day is sooner than later.

I was very excited on Sunday when we got the new Gospel Principles manual. I’m so happy that it is half the size of the old one. I honestly don’t know how Priesthood/Relief Society will be studying it for two years. I checked the last lesson to see if there were many changes, and they cut down an 18-point list of things that you need to do to reach exaltation to 10 points. A happy change.

Well, that’s all for this week. Next week I may have transfers news.

Love,
Will

December 21, 2009

Sun Fun

Hellos!

In the words of the Red Barron to Snoopy: “Merry Christmas my friend!” That song was stuck in my head this morning, by the way.

So, not too much happened this last week. The biggest news is that Elder Tillery has about finished his World of Warcraft Risk game. We play it on P-days and during the siesta sometimes. It’s pretty good; an interesting twist on Risk.

Other than that there was a lot of walking, and not a lot of teaching. This week is the Christmas party. That should be fun. And then, of course, I’ll be calling you guys on Friday. I will buy a phone card in Mendoza and use that to call, they don’t sell international cards in Malargüe for some reason. I’ll be calling at sometime during the afternoon, not exactly sure when. But, if you’re snowed in, you should be home anyway, right?

It’s getting hot here. I'm tanner than I've ever been. Mostly the sun is killing me, there is such little atmosphere here. That’s why one of the world’s most important observatories for studying cosmic rays is here. We’re actually going there this evening.

Not much else to talk about. Nothing really new here.

Love,
Will

December 14, 2009

Oh Well

Hey all.

We had a decent week this week. We got four new investigators. One of them is Carlos Santana. No, he does not play the guitar. Unfortunately he and his wife are moving to another part this week, so we don’t get to baptize them. Sigh. They’re very interested and a whole family. I haven’t baptized one of those yet. Oh well, the important part is that they get baptized.

The other investigators are not so prepared. One amazing lady refuses to go to Church because of something in her past. Sadly, I don’t think I can help her get past it much. Then the other guy is the typical, probably won’t progress type, we’ll see.

Not much else going on. The Christmas party is next week, so that means fun sandwiched between two six-and-a-half hour trips. Oh well. That seems to be the phrase of the day: “oh well”.

I really can’t think of what else to say. One of the elders in San Rafael got Risk for Christmas. It’s a really weird version that looks rather communist.

As for Christmassy stuffs here, Argentina just does not have the Christmas Spirit at all, so no concerts or other such goodness. All there is is fake snow and santas all over the place. Just commercialism.

I plan on (tomorrow because today I’m in San Rafael) buying a copy of “Martín Fierro” that has a wooden cover. It costs about 70 dollars, but I’m going to try to work the price down. I figured that a nice copy of the only cultural thing to come out of Argentina would be a good souvenier. And it has an English translation in the back so you could read it if you wanted to (or if you could read the small print).

Love,
Will

December 9, 2009

Zone Conference

Hellos again!

Well, I’m writing late this week. We had Zone Conference on Monday. That was really good. They tried some new formatting stuff and, well, it was a change. Not sure if it was good or bad yet, or even if I liked it. The worst part is that it is in San Rafael. It’s the closest city, but it’s 3 hours away. Ugh.

We decided that we would work yesterday and take P-day today, but then Elder Tillery got sick from eating something at Zone Conference, so we barely even worked and are only taking P-day until the end of the siesta. We figured any points of interest would be closed yesterday for the Day of the Immaculate Conception. Surprisingly, many stores here were open. One of the perks of being in a tourist trap town, I guess. I am still unsure of the origins of the Immaculate Conception, however. Was it the conception of Christ, meaning that Mary had a 23 month or 20 day pregnancy, or was it the conception of Mary even though the bible says who her father was?

So, we’re on the hunt. Investigators are scarce here, and everyone has been talked to by the missionaries. They all think that knowing the only dentist in town (a member) is good enough. Gack. But we are also hunting for white elephant gifts for the Christmas party. Well, I am anyway. Elder Tillery found a cheap bowler hat and cane and is giving it as an Oddjob costume.

Elder Tillery and I are co-companions, something that President Lindahl actually does quite a bit. President has also given me permission to do the Jerusalem application stuffs online, so no worries. I have not, as yet, received the flag, but got (and eaten the contents of) the package a couple weeks ago. Thanks.

Well, that’s about it for this week.

Love,
Will

December 3, 2009

Malargüe! You lucky dog, you!

Howdy!

So, biggest news: I am NOT in Rivadavia. President made some last minute changes. I am now in Malargüe, about the most alone town in the mission. I got to go to the offices and do nothing all day until my bus left at 4:30 in the evening. I didn’t get in until 11 PM. Gack. I hate long bus rides. At least the movies were not horrible Argentine sexy things. Rush Hour and Rocky Balboa. Both pretty good movies.

My new companion is Elder Tillery from Alaska. He has six months remaining in his mission. He was previously the Mission Historian, and now we’re trying to do missionary work while fixing up the branch’s horrible secretarial work. There are two other elders in Malargüe, Elder Lucas (Texas) and Elder Rojas (Chile). Both have six months on the mission. Malargüe, as the members will tell you, is a place where missionaries come to be born or to die.

It’s a pretty little town. Small. One branch. Very touristy. Very expensive because everything has to be shipped way out of the way to get here. We’re up in the mountains. I would’ve sent a picture, but haven’t taken one yet. The mountains here are always snow-capped. I'm lucky, though. I spent the winter in the warm (hot) place, and now am spending the summer in the cool place.

There was a surprise baptism on Thursday, but for the other elders. Our division is an arbitrary line that we alter as needed, as we are both working in the same branch. Yesterday we were going to knock a big, nice looking house, only to discover that it is, in fact, an abandoned train station. It would make a very nice house, or bed and breakfast. You could probably make a bundle on that in the winter, as we are very close to one of the largest ski resorts in Argentina, Las Leñas.

Other than that, not much going on. Body’s adjusting to the new climate. That’s my least favorite part of going to a completely new area. I should be alright by next week. But, I’m happy. Everyone wants to go to Malargüe, and now I have been to all parts of the mission. San Luis, San Juan, Mendoza, and the south of Mendoza.

There was a Thanksgiving Feast with President and Hermana Lindahl, but only for the Zone that won a competition. We did not win, so I didn’t do anything. I had ... Um... Something for lunch, I don’t remember what. Elder Lucas tried to get a chicken, but failed until Saturday.

Not much else to tell you. I think I’ll be able to print off the Jerusalem application here, so no worries.

Love,
Will

November 23, 2009

Service!

Hellos again!

This week has just been full of service. Missionary service. Painting an orphan’s home service. Planting corn service. Worship service (Stake conference). Wedding service. Military service (wasn’t mine, but I’m sure someone did it). Service, service, service.

This week a recent convert got married to a returned missionary girl in the branch. They’re on their way to chile right now to go get sealed. The wedding was pretty fun. We went and helped set up, then we stayed for the service, food, chatting, but we had to leave when the dancing started. It was good and fun.

The next biggest thing was Stake Conference. There is a new stake president here, so Elder Aidukaitis came. The talks were all very good. Elder Aidukaitis gave four things that every family needs to do. They are: 1. Daily family prayer. 2. Daily family scripture study. 3. Weekly family home evening. 4. Full tithe paying. Good stuff.

Transfers news is in. I’m staying in Rivadavia another transfer with Elder Whiteford. So, I’ll be here for Christmas and New Year’s. It’s starting to get hot. Gack. And everywhere is starting to sell little fake trees and Papá Noels. I don’t know that we’ll do much. The Christmas party this year is supposed to be amazing. We’ll see.

Well, that’s about all I’ve got this week.

Love,
Will

November 16, 2009

Myldsmail is down. Dum dum dum...

Hellos.

So, I'm writing from g-mail because myldsmail.net is down. So, I can't
read any of your emails this week. I hope there wasn't anything too
important.

This week we had a baptism! Woohoo! Nico got baptized. I would send
you pictures, but this computer is freakishly slow and doesn't even
have a usb port. The baptism was the best one I've had in Argentina to
date. There were about ten non-members there. Nico was very happy and
felt great.

Last night we went to the Catholic church mass. Neither of us had gone
to a whole one before. It was certainly interesting. There were lots
of people. The priest started talking about the future. The future vs
some thing that I don't know what he called it. Unplanned gifts from
God. He was saying that we all need to plan for the future, but leave
room for God to give us these unplanned gifts. Then he started talking
about Christ, and how Christ's future was the cross. The whole end of
the plan was, apparently, to die on the cross. The ressurrection was
one of those unplanned gifts from God. Forget about how the temple
will be torn down and rebuilt in three days. Forget Christ telling the
Apostles that he will rise the third day. Forget the foreshadowing of
Jonah being in the belly of the fish for three days, then being spit
out. The ressurrection was unplanned. Okay, whatever.

Well, I don't really have much else to say. Transfers are next week,
so I might have that news next time.

Hope all is well with you all.

Love,
Will







Will's house


Baptism Photo


Library

November 9, 2009

Another Week

Hellos!

So, not too much went on this week. We did divisions twice. First I went out to 3 Porteñas, a little town in the middle of nothing. I’ve gone out there once before and the stars at night are amazing. Then I went to San Martín. It’s kinda fun going back to my old area on divisions. It’s weird, though, every time I come out here I show the Zone leaders how to get somewhere.

We are teaching a kid named Nico, and he has a firm baptism date for next Saturday! Woohoo! We’re also teaching a bunch of other people, but they’re not progressing as fast. We met an old couple this week, they were amazing. Unfortunately they are going to Merlo, San Luis for two months, so we can’t teach them. But they have (and love reading) the Book of Mormon. So, hopefully they’ll study and want to be baptized when they come back.

One of our Zone Leaders has come up with a new plan. He calls it the “Hakunna Mattatta Plan.” It is basically stressing the importance of relaxing and just doing what you need to without worrying about the outcome. We had a really interesting discussion about it on divisions. He also really likes that you can find the Plan of Salvation and a bunch of other doctrines in Walt Disney movies.

Mom, I’ve found a couple BoM verses good for Christmassy cardies. One is actually from Isaiah:

2 Ne 19:6-7
6 For unto us a achild is born, unto us a son is given; and the bgovernment shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The cMighty God, The dEverlasting Father, The Prince of ePeace.
7 Of the increase of agovernment and peace bthere is no end, upon the throne of cDavid, and upon his kingdom to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this.

The other is more BoM specific:

3 Ne 1:13-14
13 Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the a sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfill all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.
14 Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfill all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given.

Hope you like them.

As for BYU Jerusalem Center, I would love to apply. I’d need to ask President if I could get the forms and stuff on the computer on P-day, but I’m sure he’d say yes. Or have me do it at the offices. He just helped a Chilean Elder with his BYU application. I’ll ask him next week. (I already sent off my email to him for this week.)

That’s really all I’ve got for this week. Oh! I bought new shoes today. My last ones were dying. They lasted 6 months, though. A new record. I bought the same brand. They should be my last ones. I also got a nice pair of moccasins. This is what I decided to spen Grandma and Grandpa Sorensen’s Christmas money on. So, I’ll let them know how I spent it in my thank-you letter.

Love,
Will

November 2, 2009

Officially Legal!

Howdys!

Everything here is going pretty well. And... I've forgotten what I was going to say today. Hmmm...

This last week was good. There was Zone Conference, and that was really good. We worked a lot even with that distraction.

It's really annoying to me that people just blow us off in the street. Also that they blow us off at all. But, whatever, they have their agency.

Yeah, that animal thing, it's way too small to be a Capybarra, see the people in the background? Sure looks like one, though. I wonder if it maybe isn't some sort of pygmy. Pygmy. I like that word, no vowels.

So, today we came into Mendoza to look for our Argentine documents. My comp's wasn't here, but mine was! Woohoo! I am now officially, completely legal here. Fun stuff. My thumb's still all black, though. I didn't get a chance to wash it yet.

We ate lunch at an all-you-can-eat place called Las Tinajas. It was really good and pretty cheap, considering. 34 pesos, less than ten dollars.

Now I'm sitting in one of the two Subways in Mendoza. It is really interesting to me that the Subways here are also Cybers. Internet, foot-long sandwiches, together. Wow. But I'm too full to get a sandwich. Oh well.

Something I was going to tell you all a few weeks ago, but forgot. Remember that Mormon girl from Dancing with the Stars? The one who always got the crappy partners, and that's why we thought she stopped? Well, her cousin is in my district. Elder Bodily. He was in High School Musical 2. He told me that the real reason that she stopped was because she got pregnant. He also told me that he met Master P on that visit to Salt Lake he made that was on the show. Fun, huh?

And, to finish on a somewhat spiritual note, ahem...

So, this week there has been lots of talk (testimony meeting) about depression and sadness. It is really just being distracted. If you feel depressed, it is because you are so distracted by the small, not pleasant things that you have lost sight of the good stuff. When you start feeling down, remember D&C 6:36. It should help.

Love,
Will

October 26, 2009

Pictures!

Hellos all!

Well, this week has been long, short, fun, a wet blanket, exciting, boring; there’s pretty much been everything in this last week. Lots of learning, lots of working. We’ve gotten a bunch of new investigators, lost a couple, and had one person in Church. The one who came to Church is Nico. He’s really cool. He made us slingshots and we’re going hunting with him this afternoon. Should be really fun.

I sometimes wonder if it wouldn’t be easier being a missionary somewhere where nobody believes in Christ. All the people here think that they’ve found Christ, so why change? Nobody listens. They all throw out the stupidest excuses. “No, I’m catholic.” Of course, what they mean by “I’m catholic” is “I was baptized at two weeks old, and haven’t gone to mass since. But, I’d be glad to lie to you to get you to stop talking to me.” It’s really frustrating. Mom, the only way I have seen people change (most prominently in myself) is the desire to change. Almost nobody here wants to change. If you say you want to change, but don’t, it’s because you don’t really have the desires to change. Change is hard, but if you have the desires, it’ll beat the hardness.

I’ve started taking a lot more pictures recently, but I’m still not much of a picture taker. I’ll send you a cool picture I took a few weeks ago as we went out into the country to teach someone. We also went to Cerro de la Gloria as a zone, and I have included that picture too. I shrunk the pictures down so that they’d fit in myldsmail.

Sister Stolpe spoke? She must’ve been talking about Cole. I haven’t heard of that kid in a long time. Where’s he serving?

My back is on again, off again with soreness and various aches. Elder Jarvis works on my back from time to time, but not often. It feels great after he works on it, though.

Not much else to say. Hope all is well.

Love,
Will

P.S. My companion is Elder Whiteford from Dewyville, UT.





October 20, 2009

¡Felíz Día Mamá!

Hello.

New comp, new adventures.

We’ve been working a lot this week. Trying to find people to teach. We taught a 17-year old kid (Alvaro) on Wednesday, but haven’t been able to find him since. We’ve been teaching an 11-year old kid, the brother of a member, and he had a baptismal date for this weekend. Then he didn’t come to Church. The non-member father of a member came to Church yesterday. We put a baptismal date with him. We’ll see how that goes. He’s had all of the missionary lessons various times, but just never really had interest or wanted to stop drinking. This is a big problem here. It’s such a large wine-producing area that people think that it’s a sin not to drink.

Sorry for the short letters, there really hasn’t been much going on. Lots of walking, and that’s about it. I also write less when I’m preoccupied about things and don’t want you worrying about me, so sorry. Often I just can’t think of things to write.

Last week I read a talk by a 70, I don’t remember who, but he quoted 2nd Nephi where it says that by grace ye are saved, after all you can do. He said that very often, all you can do is a lot less than what you think you can do. Kind of interesting.

Mom, if you want to mix me a Christmas CD then you had better do it, and decrease the surplus population! Sorry, my old habit of quoting that line from “A Christmas Carol” is coming back. Just a little way for me to stay sane. But really, make me the CD if you want. If making mix CDs were, in fact, illegal, PCs would not come with CD copying software. Now, it is illegal to sell said copy, as is done here. But, feel free to send me one. Frankly, I don’t see how inappropriate Dad’s CD was. Last year’s had Barenaked Ladies on it. My companion listens all the time to Matisyahu, an orthodox Jew who sings reggae. It’s actually really good stuff with all religious themes.

As for last minute Christmas package wishes, I would like black socks, they’re all very thin here. I’d also like one of those flags you have, Dad. You know, I think it’s the flag of the Holy Priesthood. The ones you were showing off at my open house.

Thanks for your prayers and support.

Love,
Will

P.S. Happy Argentine Mother’s Day (yesterday)!!!

P.P.S. Can't you just set up the.budges@verizon.net on Mom's outlook? Or is that not a family account anymore?

P.P.P.S. My companion just found that kid we couldn't find, Alvaro, here in the Cyber. He still wants us to come by.

October 12, 2009

Feliz Día de la Raza!

Hellos!

Happy Columbus Day!

Well, not too much happened this week. We had a confirmation, but no baptism. This kid named Oscar Quiroga got baptized the 25th of July, but never came to Church to be confirmed. We got him to come this week though. Good thing, too, because he was about out of time to confirm himself (confirmarse).

It’s transfers on Wednesday. I stay. Elder Ayer goes. Elder Ayer’s trainer comes. Weirdness. It should be fun, though.

Sorry I don’t have much to say. Not much going on. Today’s a holiday, so everything’s closed. We were lucky to find an open cyber. I hope you all keep having fun. Keep working hard. Get your stuff done. Um... What show is Paul in?

Love,
Will

October 6, 2009

General Conference!

So, it’s been another week.

This week we went way out to the sticks. Fortunately the families we found were amazing and potentially could come to Church. Here’s hoping.

Conference was great. What a way to start on Saturday morning with Elder Scott. Wow. It was all very good. Sunday I felt kinda really sick, but managed to kinda pay attention to Conference. Then the transmission started cutting in and out towards the end. Did President Monson make any startling revelations at the end of the last session, we kinda missed it.

As for me, I’m working, walking, riding the bus. Not much else. Don’t know what you should tell the peoples, Dad, sorry. My companion told me not to tell you anything so that you would tell everybody stories about men offering to shoot dogs.

I got your CD today. It worked on the computer in the offices, but I think I found a fussy part on my cd player. I will do a more thorough investigation and report next week.

I ran into one of Brother Howells’s converts here in Rivadavia on Sunday on the way to Conference. I don’t know her name, but she is now sealed in the Temple and seems to be returning to activity. She asked a lot about him and his family, but I couldn’t tell her much. Let him know she says “hi”.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Until next week.

Love,
Will

September 28, 2009

The Firefighters, the Missionaries

Hellos!!!

Well, this was a rather exciting week. On Wednesday we did divisions with the Zone Leaders. Elder Sargent (ZL) went with my companion and convinced him to burn the pictures of his girlfriend. The thing is, she didn’t burn; she exploded. I saw the video, it was rather exciting. Then, on Friday we went to visit our recent converts when we heard “pop, pop, pop”. We thought it was fireworks or something, but then Ime (recent convert) said “It’s a real fire, and it’s at my mom’s house!!!” So, we ran over there and put out the fire. Somebody had set their wood pile ablaze. It was a huge fire, and it ruined about half their garden. But, we had the fire out before the firefighters got there. It only took us 45ish minutes. And yesterday we were walking along, and a dog tried to bite Elder Ayer. He kicked it, and then a man in a blue car pulled over and asked us if we wanted him to shoot the dog for us. We said no.

Saturday was the “worldwide” service project. We all went up to Mendoza to the Parque San Martín and cleaned up a school. It was very unorganized. There was no direction. But, I got to see a bunch of missionaries who I haven’t seen in a long time, including my second companion, Elder Opheikens. Also there was my MTC comp, Elder Roy. It was a fun get together.

I haven’t gotten the Christmas CD yet, but it should be in the offices by now. The Zone Leaders, and maybe us, are going there next week. We’ll see.

So, your new compy should be there this week. That’s good. I’m guessing it will probably be running Vista. But it’s Sony, right? You should get the same deal I did with my laptop, and have them send you the new OS. At least, that would make sense as it comes out soon.

Well, I hope you all have a great GC weekend. Pay attention, learn something, and most importantly, enjoy it!

Love,
Will

September 22, 2009

American food in Argentina

Hello.

Not too much to talk about right now. In the search for investigators. Actually, in the search for getting into shape and looking for investigators. For some reason, I have gotten really lazy. I just can’t seem to motivate myself into working like I know I can.

Not much other news. Cleaned the house this morning, the downstairs floor still needs work. I’ll send pictures when everything’s clean. Maybe video if I can get one small enough. Just to show you how clean it really is.

Um... New bibles are out. I’ve ordered mine. Just gotta wait now. Yep. It’ll be great when they get here.

English Liahonas seem to have disappeared at Zone Conferences.

Zone Conference was good. I think President’s talk got everyone a little trunky. He told us all that we need to think a little about what we’re going to do after the mission. Weird, huh?

Well, that’s about it for this week. Oh! The whole zone got together for lunch today in San Martin. We went to a new restaurant called Rixy. It’s as close to a 50’s diner that you can get in Argentina. Their burgers were pretty close to a real burger. Just way too small. It was pretty good, but kinda expensive.

Until next week.

Love,
Will

September 15, 2009

Baptisms!!!

Hello!!!

Well we had a baptism!!! Two, actually. Imelda and Natacha Soto. They’re way cool. I’m sending pictures from the other account. The baptism went great. They seem like very strong members now. They just need the other members’ support.

It’s really interesting that Mom talked about eating well. Yesterday we ate tacos for lunch to celebrate. Elder Ayer got some Taco Bell seasoning, so we used it. We had found tortillas, cheddar cheese, and we even used some Cassan Crem(somewhere in between sour cream and cream cheese). Unfortunately, we failed to notice that the cassan crem expired on the 10th. I was (am) all right, but Elder Ayer was throwing up all night and is still not feeling tip-top. But that’s life. I think that every missionary, at some point or another, suffers from food poisoning. Well, every missionary outside the US.

Other than that, not much other news. Keep on keeping on. Oh! The new bible is out!!!! YAY!!!!!! I’m still gonna have to wait about a month to get mine, though. But I ordered it! Woohooo!!!

Well, now that’s all. Have a good week!

Love,
Will

September 7, 2009

Transfers!

Heys!

Well, it’s another week, another transfer, another area, another companion. I’m back in the same zone as San Martín, this time in Rivadavia. My companion is Elder Ayer. He’s from New Hampshire. He’s fun. We’ll have a blast.

The coolest thing of note of the last week other than transfers is this. Last night we went to visit a member. The Hermano Largayoli. He’s really cool. We started talking a ton about the Masons with him. He got very excited, and Elder Ayer was left wide-eyed because of all the new stuff he learned. I really want to learn more about the Masons.

Sorry this is so short, I just don’t have much to talk about. We’re not allowed to wear watches anymore, so we’re going to go looking for pocket watches today.

Love,
Will

August 31, 2009

Transfers

Hellos again!

Really not much to say this week. I was expecting to be able to tell you about transfers, but I don’t know yet. I’m fairly certain that I am going to Mendoza on Wednesday (transfer day), but nothing has been confirmed yet. Well, nothing has been confirmed by me.

All of my Christmas wishes really are just candies; Double Stuft Oreos, Carmel Creams, Worther’s Originals, etc. I would also like a new CD of Christmas stuff. The one you sent last year doesn’t really work. At all. It only plays half of the songs, and those are all messed up. But I’d like that one sooner so that I can actually listen to it during the Christmas season. Thank you.

I used my big winter coat two or three times, no mas. Really that was because I was in San Juan all winter. If I had been in San Rafael or Malargue it would have been a different story. Everything here’s starting to be green. The last few days it has gotten up to 86 degrees out. Pretty crazy as it’s technically still winter. In the summer here it gets over 104.

The past few days I’ve been with a bit of a cold. It was getting worse, so I took most of the day off on Wednesday to nip it in the bud. That seems to have worked. I’m almost completely better now. Still gotta blow my nose from time to time, though.

Well, that’s all for now. I’ll tell you all about my new comp, new area, and all that jazz next week.

Love,
Will

August 24, 2009

Evil ATMs

Hey all.

Another week. But it was a great one. Well, the conference was great; the rest of the week was pretty much the same. I had read and listened to a famous talk given by Cleon Skousen about intelligences that he gave at a mission Zone Conference, and hoped to be able to get a talk like that too. My wish came true with Elder Bowen. He started talking about true identity and responsibility. It was really great. I don’t have my notes with me, but maybe sometime later I’ll send a list of the scriptures that he used.

Other than that, nothing really new. I bought some new socks today. 65 pesos. Socks here are way too expensive. My companion bought new shoes. But he was twenty pesos short, so we went to the ATM. There his card got eaten. So, we go inside and tell some lady. She waits five minutes before coming to fix the thing. Then she takes his card and his ID away. We wait another twenty minutes. Finally she makes him sign a paper and gives his card back saying, "Next time I destroy it, be careful! >:(" In my opinion, very unprofessional and uncalled for. My companion did nothing wrong. His poor card did nothing wrong. The evil ATM and angry banker-ladies were to blame!

Well, sorry for being short, but I really don’t have anything more to say. Hope all is well.

Love,
Will

August 17, 2009

Wait, this isn't 1885...

Heys!

Well, another week. Today is August 17th. La día de la Memoria de la Muerte de General San Martín. So, being a holiday, everything is closed. We were going to buy shoes (my companion) and socks (me) because we forgot that everything would be closed. We are lucky that we found an open cyber.

It is very interesting to me that you mentioned secion 132 in your email, Dad. We got this reference from the Elders in the next area over for a less-active family with 11 kids, three to baptize. We went and there were two women and 11 kids. I wasn't surprised by two women and a ton of kids because this is Argentina and multiple families frequently live in the same house. They were amazingly active for an inactive family, and the first lesson turned into just asking questions and having all the kids answer correctly. The women menioned to us that the husband of one was excumunicated and that they were both suspended, I didn’t think it apropriate to ask why. I then, on Sunday, informed the Branch President that we were visiting them. He informed us that we had to stop. We were to invite them back to Church and nothing else. He told us that the women were excomunicated too, that he had held the tribunal. Never in my wildest dreams had I expected to run into poligamists. Witches, false prophets (another one that’s checked off my list), and evil spirits, yes, but not polygamists. So, we can’t teach that family any more. It’s a real shame because the kids are great, just horrible that those kids are going to grow up thinking that that stuff’s alright.

Other than that, not much to tell. About Jerusalem, I’d been thinking that I’d have to drop that dream, but the posibility of fall semester opens it back up. I’ll take it! I just didn’t think that fall semester would be possible, but I’d like to do it now that I know it is. Thanks!

Tomorrow is the conference with Elder Bowen, so I’ll let you all know how that went next week.

Love,
Will

August 15, 2009

Another week gone by ......

Hellos again!

Another week gone. It really is amazing how fast time goes by. And yes, it seems like transfers come every couple weeks. In reality they come every six weeks, but that’s fairly frequently. I didn’t used to think so, but now I do.

Sadly, there isn’t much to tell. Not much new going on. Still looking for people to teach. Yesterday was Ward Conference. We did a musical number. My companion played the piano, and I sang with the councilor of the bishopric. “This is The Christ.” Nobody here had heard it before. And, once again, I was met with a lot of praise for my singing. I don’t know why. I am so out of practice, but I think I’m really the only one who notices. I fear that my dreams of getting into Vocal Point right off the mission will not come to fruition; I’ll have to work myself back up by being in one of the other choirs first. Oh well.

Um… Sorry for the shortness, but I really can’t think of what else to say. Next week is the conference with Elder Bowen (Area President, South America South), so you’ll hear about that in two weeks.

Love,
Will

August 3, 2009

Much Better

Hellos again!

Well, another week gone by. In health news, ever since last Monday I have been much better. The severe headache thing was new, but now long gone; hopefully to stay away. With the health improvements we’ve been working a ton. I even needed to put some of those Dr. Scholl’s gel inserts in my shoes because of the walkingness. I tried to find the ones I used in an older pair of shoes, but could only find one, so I used new ones. Oh well, that’s what they’re for.

Today was supposed to be Zone Conference. We only had interviews and training by the APs. The reason: on the 18th Elder Bowen (Area President) is visiting the mission. We’re all getting ready for that. It should be good. The APs really only echoed what Elder Aidukaitis said about a year ago.

Other news… There isn’t much. Enjoying my time here in San Juan. Kinda wondering what will happen next transfer. I have two transfers here, and that seems to be my standard maximum in an area. The one exception being the three transfers in my first area. Hermana Lindahl sort of got on my case about not being a Nazi in teaching my companion English. I guess I’d better start working on that. She’s very big on making sure all the Latins learn English.

Well, sorry for the shortness, but I really don’t have that much to say. It’s cold here. Then at noon it’s hot. And cold again at night. Spring and summer are coming, so that means lots of hotness. I hope to be in San Luis or the south of Mendoza before the summer. We’ll see.

Until next time.

Love,
Will

July 27, 2009

In every day, and in every way, I'm getting better and better. (10 points for the quote)

Well here it is, another week in San Juan.

My new companion is Elder Puga, from Lima, Peru. He’s pretty cool. I left Estanzuela and he went in there as a newbie, so we talk about there sometimes.

I really feel like my brain is shot. Or shorted. Something. I had upwards of four sick days this week. Elder Salazar’s bus left at 7 in the morning and I had to wait around for Elder Puga to show up at 1. While waiting I ran into Elder Gardner and his parents as they started out their tour of the mission before going home.

It snowed a little here Wednesday morning. I didn’t see it. But in all the rest of the mission (Mendoza and San Luis) it was snowing legitly.

Elder Puga finally got here and we went to work. Mostly meeting the bishopric. Then Thursday we really started working. Talking with people, that kind of stuff. Then I got this headache at about 5. We kept working. At 8 it got so bad that I felt like I was going to throw up and had the member we were with take us home in his car. Friday I stayed home sick. Saturday I tried to work, but it was all I could do to walk in the streets and had to go home for lunch early and finish the day early. Sunday I went to Church, but didn’t go out the rest of the day. Today I feel better. What a saga. Four days. An eternity for missionaries.

Well, I’ve noticed that I’ve reached the point where life before the mission doesn’t seem real. Life after the mission also does not seem real. It’s a rather interesting sensation. I don’t really know how to describe it. I guess you might call it living in the present. I think mostly it’s that I’ve been gone for over a year, and have about a year left. Nothing seems real. The missionary work doesn’t even seem that real, it’s just what you do.

Pioneer day was… Well, I didn’t even notice it at all. What day of the week was it?

I guess the Church in Argentina is pioneering… um… Strong members. There aren’t very many. The area has a goal of having all the wards in the new Temple District qualify as wards by the opening of the Temple. Can’t really do that without strong members. It’s just too bad that there’s really only one, maybe two, wards in the mission that qualify as wards.

There’s an LDS family that lives at the end of the street? Since when?

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. This time was longer. Maybe I’ll try rambling my recountings, it seems to fill the page more. And maybe it’s easier to read. Who knows.

Love,
Will

July 25, 2009

Baptism!!!

Hellos!

Well, we baptized!!! Wooo!!!! We have a couple more potential baptisms in the Ward, and (thanks to an activity last night) a bunch more in the Branch. Yee haw!

Marcos (26) and Luciano (11) are very excited for Church and for staying strong in the Gospel. I hope that they stay strong.

Last night almost the whole zone worked in Vidart (our branch). We didn’t, we had to go to Ward Council in El Líbano (our ward). They went to try to find some of the (500) inactive members and bring them back. They got a ton of references and about 4 or 5 baptismal candidates. Yipee!

Today we went to the dinosaur exhibit at the museum. It was pretty cool. It only talked about ancient things that were discovered here in San Juan. There were some pretty cool things. Some dinosaurs (like the Steigosaurus, discovered by William Steig, member of the Church who served a mission in San Juan and married a Sanjuanina), protocrocodiles, reptiles, and protomamals. It was really interesting.

My companion (Elder Salazar) is going to Justo Daract in San Luis, right next to where I started. We have no idea who’s coming here, though. Next week.

We walk everywhere here, or take the bus. Long distances are done by big busses. We eat lunch with the members. Dinner doesn’t really exist here. Typical foods are: milanesas (breaded baked, or fried, beef or chicken), pastas, chorizo (sausage), asado (a sort of barbeque type meat on the grill), morcilla (blood sausage). Everyone (except the missionaries) sleeps the siesta. I hope that helps some, dad.

Well, that’s it for this week.

Love,
Will

July 13, 2009

Baptisms Coming!

Hey all.

Happy Independence Day! Well, last Thursday. Argentine independence is July 9th. Everyone seemed to still be working, though, which is weird for an Argentine holiday.

Mom, the laptop that you’re using is YOUR laptop. If it was mine, you wouldn’t be using it. ;)

It’s always great to hear from you all. This upcoming week we have two baptisms. An 11-year old boy and his uncle are getting baptized in the Branch. They went to Church in the Ward yesterday because they got there late. The bishopric was very disappointed.

Transfers are coming up next week, I’ll let you know.

Umm… Yeah, not much else going on. Just the same old stuff. I’ve finally been able to understand the nature of faith. Faith only counts if you show it. You don’t need to show any person, just God. But, actually showing it can be kinda tough because doubts always creep in. Oh well. You just gotta keep trying.

Love,
Will

July 6, 2009

Hmmmm... Flu...

Hey!

Things here are going fine. We have a couple of baptismal dates and they went to Church! Woohoo! Of course, the act of going to Church is slightly more complicated now. The Influenza A scare is out of control. I have seen people walking around wearing masks, I heard a pharmacy employee say that the masks went from 1.50 to 3 to now 10.50. Ridiculous. Gel hand sanitizer is unavailable everywhere, and everyone wants it. And, they’ve canceled all Church meetings except for Sacrament Meeting for the whole month of July. Oh well, at least it means that it starts later and investigators are more likely to go now.

I was out for the count on Thursday. Not sure what I had food poisoning or a 24 hour bug, or something. I was out all day. But by Friday I was much better. Apparently half the mission is out with Flu right now. Pretty nasty.

Well, I’m about to go introduce some Argentines to some good, old-fashioned US type popcorn. Here they always have popcorn with sugar instead of butter or salt.

Love,
Will

June 30, 2009

Another week.

Hellos!

So, another week has gone by. It just goes so fast. And yet, so slow too. But, I’m sure it’ll be over before I know it.

So, last week I talked about that investigator who didn’t go to church. Well, she seems to be hiding from us now. I wish I knew why. It really bothers me that people who in the first place have the decency to actually talk with us then think that it’s okay to lie and hide from us. But, I guess they’ll get their reward. I just wish that investigators that good wouldn’t get that reward.

So, we did service on Saturday. A ward member is eager to get his house built, because when it’s built he can get married. So, we went and helped him with his house. This week’s task was moving 1800 bricks inside the house so that they wouldn’t get stolen. Very fun stuff. We were there about three hours. I think I may have inherited Dad’s tendency to get hurt on any project. I’ve got a fun injury on my right pinky from the bricks.

Mom, if it makes you feel any better, your presence as orgainist would definitely be missed in Argentina. The chapel (the one here) actually has a piano, but nobody to play it. And the women who lead the music always start it absurdly low so that nobody else can sing.

I find it interesting that you have a facebook now, Dad. I had always seen Mom as the one getting on there to see what the deal is. I had figured that you’d only get on if David told you to. Welcome to the social networking craze.

Well, that’s really all I’ve got this week. See ya next time.

Love,
Will

June 24, 2009

Happy Winter!

Hey!

So, it was Zone Conference yesterday. That’s why I’m writing today.

We found this great woman last week. Really, she found us. She’s going through a really hard time and went to us instead of all of the Catholic priests or Evangelical preachers that her friends told her to. She is very prepared for the Gospel. We gave her the Book of Mormon, and started reading right off. She understands it as well as the veteran members. We also gave her the Plan of Salvation pamphlet. She loved it, especially the purpose of the Fall.

Other than that, not too much news. We (the whole zone) have decided that my companion looks just like Gandhi. It’s pretty amusing. He’s fun. We just have very different working styles/personalities that cause some minor problems that we are working through.

The weather here is very weird. It’s now officially winter, but a couple days ago it was 35 degrees (Celsius). Today it’s cold, though. Yup, that’s it.

Love,
Will

June 15, 2009

Stake Conference!

Hey.

I had my letter all written, but lost it.

Stake conference for all Argentina was this weekend. The speakers were:

Elder Lynn G. Robbins (Speaking in Spanish)
President Russell T. Osguthourpe (Speaking in Spanish)
Elder M. Russell Ballard (Speaking in English with an interpreter in Spanish)
President Henry B. Eyring (English with Spanish overdub)

The most popular one was Elder Robbins, probably because he made reference to River and Boca, the two biggest (and rival) teams in Argentina. I really enjoyed hearing my old mission prep teacher (Osguthourpe) talk in Spanish.

I’m doing well. Getting to know my new area and the members. Not my favorite thing. I don’t really like the whole first couple of weeks in a new place.

I thought that maybe in Argentina I’d like Wal-Mart, I mean, that’s what happened with McDonald’s. I was wrong. It still sucks. It’s way expensive and there’s hardly any variety if you’re looking for a bargain.

Sorry for the shortness, I’m pretty much out of time. I had a longer one, but killed the computer. Sorry.

Love,
Will

June 8, 2009

Transfers Again!

Hey all!

Well, the biggest news… Transfers! Both Elder Gardner and I are being transferred. He’s going to a new area where the Church doesn’t even exist yet; a fun adventure for his last transfer. And I’m going back to San Juan. I guess four weeks wasn’t enough of a run there. I’m going to Líbano and am going to be senior companion. My new companion is Elder Salazar. He’s from Jujuy in the north of Argentina. It’ll be fun. That’s about it. There are a bunch of zones that are re-entering existence this transfer, and a new one about to be created next week.

Other than that, everything’s fine. Not much other news. Mom, a piece of comforting trivia for you. One of the lesser-known X-men (I forget his name) is Mormon. And his power: the gift of tongues. He can understand and work in any language. Including computer languages. Maybe it’ll work for you too.

Well, that’s about it for this week. Sorry for being so short.

Love,
Will

June 1, 2009

Argentine Documents

Hey all!

Well, another week has gone by. Today is a very exciting P-day. We went into the offices for some chiropractic work. It’s been almost two transfers since I’ve gone in and was (am) really tight, and Elder Gardner hurt his back before the mission and wanted a once-over. Then we went and got Elder Gardner’s Argentine documents. He is now officially legal. It’s a shame that I’ll have to wait until October or November at the earliest to get mine. Makes a great souvenir, and most missionaries don’t get theirs.

June is looking to be a big month for the mission. There are 50 baptisms scheduled for this week in the whole mission. That’s huge. On assignment by the President, Elder Stevenson (historian) was looking through the old mission stuff to see the record of baptisms. It turns out that the mission used to have really high baptism numbers every month. Then Elder Turley died. Elder Turley was the top missionary that this mission has probably ever seen. He was the older brother of a sister missionary in my MTC group. He got hit by a drunk driver one night in San Luis. And the mission hasn’t had consistently high baptism numbers since. Hmmm...

Other than that, all is good. Transfers are coming up next week, and it seems as though change is in the air. But that makes sense, Elder Gardner has to go back to San Juan to finish the mission, he had a dream. President is really big on dreams.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now really. I hope you’re all doing well.

Love,
Will

May 25, 2009

¡25 de Mayo!

Hello again!

Happy 25 de Mayo! It’s one of the four big patriotic holidays today, the day of the Revolution. We were very lucky to have stumbled across an open cyber today, everything’s closed. Happy Memorial Day for you guys.

Mom, I just think that you should know that after your tech class, you’re not really going to know how to use a computer/the internet better. You’ll just be able to write web pages and code some sort of programmystuffs. I wish you luck. If you think he might be able to help you, Paul is kinda familiar with HTML.

So, we met the standard placed by Elder Oaks of talking with 140 people this week (10 a day each one). We’ve already seen some of the blessings. We’ve gotten into a few houses and they have listened to us. Woohoo! Sadly, nobody came to Church. But we have potential investigators now.

The primary is kinda big for Argentina. I don’t really know how big it is, though. The youth program, however, is just what I’m used to: a bunch of Young Men and no Young Women.

As for my last baptism, he and his mother have not come to Church the last two weeks. She’s really interested in the Temple, more curiosity than anything, so we’ve been trying to use that to lure her to Church. It’s not really working, though. We may have to threaten to not help her sand her walls.

All in all, I’m doing alright. I hope you’re all doing well.

Love,
Will

May 18, 2009

Malts!

Hellos again.

So, it was Zone Conference this week. That was good. Kinda sad because the only letter I got was one that I had tried to send that came back. :S Oh well.

So, Elder Gardner and I have started playing a game while talking with the people. We give each other words that we have to use while talking to someone. It’s really pretty fun. It makes you think of things quickly. And it’s pretty fun.

That’s great to hear about Michael [Dougherty]. I’ll absolutely send my condolences if you get me the contact info.

So, I bought new shoes today. This time they should last longer. They are a highly recommended brand: Oxigeno. I’ve met another elder with this kind of shoe and he said they held up well.

So, they’re building offices at Ground Zero, then? I wasn’t ever sure what they were going to do. It’s kinda interesting to know.

Sorry this is really short, but I can’t really think of anything else to say. I’m doing well, staying happy. I’ve found an ice cream place that does shakes and if you choose the right flavor, it turns into a malt! They have one flavor with malted milk balls. I didn’t get it, I’ll have to.

Love,
Will

May 11, 2009

Baptism!

Hello again!

Happy Mother’s Day! Again.

The sun rose well on our baptism day. (Picture included) It all went pretty well. We baptized Lucas (10 years old) and his family all came. It seemed kinda like a Catholic baptism in that his sister was taking pictures of the whole ordinance. Nobody noticed that the camera was out before we began. But he got baptized. I confirmed him yesterday. I really don’t like doing confirmations. I shouldn’t be the one doing them. The missionaries shouldn’t really be the ones baptizing either. We should be the witnesses. It should be sort of a formal hand-over of the investigator from the missionaries to the members. But this ward is way too missionary-dependant anyway. All I can do is sigh and do what I can to get them more independent.

Other than that there’s not really any news. The hermana in whose house we live told us to read a book and gave us a copy to borrow. The book was “The Diary of Adam and Eve” by Mark Twain. It was very entertaining. Adam thinks that Cain is a fish, then a kangaroo, then a bear. I read it is Spanish, so I don’t think I fully appreciate the book, but I think that Mom would really enjoy it. If you haven’t read it.

Well, that’s it. See ya!

Will





May 8, 2009

It's May!

Hey!

Well, first things first, Mother’s Day call. I think it would be easier/better if you called me. I do not have a member’s phone available this time. I recommend finding a decent international phone card. It shouldn’t be too hard. Just go to Giant or something. Now, because you’ll be calling a cell phone it’s kinda weird. Well, if you knew the number it would be weird. So, to save on confusion I’ll just give you the number that you’ll need to call.

Well, there it is.

And, because you liked the pictures so much, I’ll send some more. I think I’ll just send one this time, though. I tried getting pictures of the mountains, including Aconcagua, but they didn’t turn out too well because it was a hazy day. But I got some really nice sunsets where you can see the mountains. Sort of. I’ll send one of those. Also, a picture of an abandoned bodega that we found the other day that for some reason had cow heads on it. Hmmm…

So, we have a baptism on Saturday!!! WOOOOO!!!!!!! It’s Lucas. He is a ten-year-old boy and very excited to be baptized.

I have made an interesting observation. The farther you go from the mountains, the bigger they look. I think that’s kinda weird. I don’t understand it. We were as close to the mountains as our boundaries permit, and they looked kinda small. Then we were much farther away, and they looked huge. It confuses me.

Transfers have come and gone. Both Elder Gardner and I stayed. This is good. We get along well and have a great time. And we spent all of the last transfer just trying to find and meet pretty much everyone on the ward list. Now we can start finding investigators.

I’m way excited for the new Bible in Spanish. I don’t know if I’ve told you about it yet or not. It comes out in September. It has JSTs and the Bible Dictionary. It’ll be great.

Well, that’s about it.

Love,
Will




April 27, 2009

Ghosts in the apartment!

Hellos agains!

Well, this week was pretty normal, nothing too out of the ordinary. We lost an investigator to work. That was sad. But my companion bought me a delicious ice cream birthday cake. There is a picture. Yes, the flame on that candle is very tiny, but it was a very drippy candle, and I didn’t want the hot wax melting through the cake.

I’ve also sent a few other pictures. One is a sunrise from a few days ago. The other is what we have dubbed the “Haunted Mansion Picture.” So, we get kinda bored during the siesta. We have started entertaining ourselves by taking pictures with the manual setting on my camera. The result: ghosts. We want to take a picture of us street contacting a ghost and title it “Redeeming the Dead.”

Um… Sorry I’m not so chatty today. There really isn’t that much to say. The work continues. We have a baptismal date for the 9th of March. I hope it sticks this time.

Well, that’s about it. I hope you enjoy the pics.

Love,
Will




April 20, 2009

“Maipú is better than yours”

Hello again!

Yes, I did buy a new camera. It is a Samsung S860, I think . Something like that. 8.1 GB. I have started carrying the little camera with me because it is discreet and I won’t care too much if someone robs it. The new one is more bulky and harder to hide. So, forgive the lovely sunset, it would’ve been better with the other camera. You can just make it small, it looks okay small. I took another of the sun setting behind Aconcagua, but it turned out worse.

Well, the other pictures are 1) me standing under the street signs of where San Luis crosses San Juan, because I’ve been to both of those provinces; and 2) La Taberna de Moe. Yup, the Argentines like The Simpsons so much that I have found Moe’s Tavern here in San Martín.

We are teaching a guy here named Manuel. He’s old and can’t read. So, I’m downloading the Book of Mormon on MP3 for him right now. This computer’s really slow at doing it, though. At first he was skeptical as to whether he would like the Church. He kept saying that he didn’t like it when the Pastor touched people and they fell down. The woman he lives with kept saying that this Church isn’t like that, but he always answered with “We’ll see on Sunday.” We talked with him yesterday and he told us that he’d “maybe like to do that thing, you know, with the water where they baptize.” This is good for us because it means that he wants to be baptized. Huzzah!

Oh, we’re making shirts for the Zone (the Maipú Zone) that say “Maipú is better than yours”. If anyone wants this unique souvenir from Argentina, let me know and I’ll get you one.

Well, that’s about all I’ve got for this week. Thanks for all your birthday wishes.

Love,
Will




April 13, 2009

¡Felices Pascuas!

¡Felices Pascuas!

Don’t really know why it’s plural, but it is. It’s kind of really annoying that they use the same word for Easter and Passover. It makes things kinda complicated when I try to explain things. I have to say “la Pascua de los Judíos.” Good Friday was a really big deal here, but after that nothing. Nobody seemed to care about Resurrection Sunday. Sad. Also sad was that we didn’t even sing any of the two Easter hymns in Spanish. Easter was barely even mentioned by anyone in the testimony meeting. It’s weird to me, though that they can go without even thinking of Easter, but on Good Friday they will still not eat meat. We found one member who still believes in the Virgin. We were talking about the crucifixion and resurrection with her and she started talking about how Mary just cleaned up the blood behind Christ and it was hard, but she let him suffer so that mankind could be saved. Sometimes I would like to know how some of these traditional beliefs came about.

Hope everyone had a happy Easter.

In our daily ritual of doing Abrir La Boca (Open the Mouth) I asked people what they thought the importance of la Pascua was. One woman said “Well, it’s a party. A Jesus Party. Right?” Another man said “It’s a tradition that isn’t based in anything real.” And a third hit the mark closest with “It’s when we remember the suffering and crucifixion of Christ ... and the resurrection.” It was interesting to see people's answers.

Speaking of a Jesus Party, Elder Gardner showed me a pamphlet that a friend of his serving in NYC sent him. It talked about a great party in Heaven that Jesus was hosting. And you’re invited! Woo hoo! There wasn’t a church or anything attached, you just had to say a little prayer that was inside and you accepted the invitation. But there was a website on the back. I believe it was www.thefamily.org/family. Maybe I’ll go check it out when I get back.

Other than that, nothing new. I think I’ll probably get a new camera in the coming weeks.

Till next week.

Will

April 6, 2009

Conferences, Penches, and Rock Concerts

Hellos again!

So, this week I’ve got a treat for you. Pictures! I’m sending some pictures of our apartment. It’s kinda messy because there are four of us and none of us is completely unpacked yet. Still. We sleep in the loft, as you will see.

So, this has been quite the week. Very busy what with General Conference and also Zone Conference. Um… I can’t really remember what happened this week. I was going to tell you. Hm… Oh! Do you remember that Superman and Zorro stuff I sent a few weeks ago? Well it has been revealed in a video at Zone Conference what it is. I wish I had that video, it was really great. A couple missionaries started their companionship study and some guys dressed in black started hitting them in the face so that they would fight. Then they get beat up by the guys in black and call for help. Zorro breaks in and starts fighting the blackites. But they’re too much for him! Where will help come from?! Suddenly, a conversation among the baddies. “What’s that in the sky?” “It’s a bird.” “It’s a plane.” “It’s SUPERMAN!!! Oh No!” Fun dun da daaaa da da da dun dun dum! Superman flies in and saves Zorro. Then they work together and save the day. Huzzah!

Pretty much it’s a program that has made the Utah Provo mission the highest baptizing mission in the world. But our numbers are now way low. It makes having a lesson that we can count exciting!

So, we went to Conference. It was great. Elder Perry told the members what we have been trying to tell them since the Creation. We need their help.

After Conference, on the way home, we decided to go to a rock concert. We were invited into an Evangelical church. In part we wanted to hear what the guest pastor had to say. He was visiting from Springfield Missouri. I think he might be a reorg. I’m pretty sure they were at least in the same evangelical group association thing as the reorgs.

The band was pretty good, though. The lead guitar was a guy about 26 and very evangelical. He had a nice Les Paul imitation. The rest of them were less enthusiastic. The backup guitarist was about 17 and not too happy to be there. The bassist was a 16 year-old girl who really did not want to be there. The best one, though, was the drummer. He was a kid of about 11 years of age. He was just happy to play the drums. And he was really good.

Don’t remember what I was going to say now, so until next week.

Will

[Here are a few shots Will sent in a separate e-mail]






March 30, 2009

A Bible! A Bible! We already have a Bible! But not a quad... yet.

Hellos!

There’s bunches of newsy stuff this week. The hours have changed again so we’re back to the whole 6:30 dealy. It’s better this way, we were getting back to the apartment about two hours after dark.

General Conference is this weekend with a new Apostle!!! WOOO!!!

Some of the most exciting news for me is this:

This September something new will hit the world. ¡¡¡LA EDICIÓN SUD DE LA BIBLIA!!!

That’s right. The Church is finally releasing our own edition of the Bible in Spanish. This means that Spanish Quads are almost definitely in the future. Maybe that will get Argentine members to read the Bible more. I’m excited for JSTs and BOM footnotes for the second half of my mission.

Like always there was something else I was going to talk about, but I have since forgotten. I’ve been kinda looking at cameras. The one I want most is a Sony and costs roughly 1750 pesos. If this is unreasonable there are other options. I’m not actually looking very hard, but I have realized that I need to get out of the 2 MP crapiness that I am now in. Oh, that little orange jobby is so old it doesn’t recognize 2 GB cards. I think the biggest it’ll take are 512 MB. But the card reader is great.

It’s really interesting for me to hear about things at home such as Paul’s new accordion. I may have to find some Argentine Foklore music for him. That’s right, Argentine folk music uses accordion.

That’s all I’ve got this week.

Love,
Will

March 23, 2009

San Martín!

Hellos again!

Well, here I am in a new area with a new companion. My companion is Elder Gardner from Irvine, California. He has two transfers left, and I took his last companion spot in Preach My Gospel, so he hopes I’ll be the last. He also looks somewhat like Neil Steinberg.

Our area we technically opened because it was closed for a transfer. We are in the Ward San Martín I. It’s in the department of San Martín, in the province of Mendoza. It’s a cool little town. Well, little compared to DC. We have pretty much all of the city center. There’s a museum here about General San Martín. From the touristy map I saw it’s a part of his old farm. It’s also one of the places here that makes olive oil. Contrary to my pre-mission belief, olive oil here is very expensive. They pretty much make it only to export. Another reason why the economy here’s not that great, all their products that make the most money they export, so they don’t even support themselves.

We’re in a really new apartment. It’s really small, but perfect for two missionaries. But right now we have four missionaries living there until they get their new apartment. There were going to be six, but there’s no way that could happen. One of the elders living there is Elder Ortiz, from Hawaii. The other is Elder Reynolds. I don’t know where he’s from. This is his second transfer in Argentina. He also served a service mission in Nauvoo. And his uncle is the leader of Enoch Train.

We’re still working on getting to know all the members. We know almost all of the active members, so it’s time to start looking for some investigators too. Apparently the beauty queen of San Martín from this year lives pretty close to us, maybe we’ll convert her. She won the provincial title too.

As for thank-yous for grandparents, that will have to be done through you guys until you give me their address(es).

Ummm…. That’s about it for now. Until next week.

Love,
Elder Budge

March 16, 2009

T - 2 Days and Counting

Hellos again.

Congratulations Paul and Kelly on your affirmation of being Ephraimites. It sounds like, from what Mom said, you guys both have more detailed, or at least lengthier, blessings than I. Make sure to read them frequently and apply them as best fits whatever situation, mine has helped me quite a bit.

While popular support of Office 2007 is not great, I take satisfaction that I have helped someone else come to appreciate the navigability and new tools of Word 2007. Mom, may you continue to use it to it’s fullest and learn more of the tricks that it holds.

And now for the news: TRANSFERS!

Transfers are this Wednesday. I’m off to another part. I’ll be opening a new area in Maipú. (Ha ha ha. Maipú. Sounds like “my poo”. He he he.) There, now we’ve gotten all the giggles out. My new area is called San Martín 1. Other than that I really don’t know anything. I’ll tell you more next week.

Not much happened this week. I read quite a few old Liahonas and Ensigns. I found a particularly interesting article in the February 2007 Ensign about archaic interpretations of the parable of the Good Samaritan. I think that I like those old interpretations better than the “moral of the story” interpretations common today. They are roughly as follows: A man (Adam, representing, as is common, all men) goes from Jerusalem, the Holy City with the Temple (the presence of God), to Jericho (the fallen world). He is set upon by thieves and left half-dead (attacked by Satan, sin and vice and suffered the first death: falling from the presence of God). The Law and the Prophets (the Priest and the Levite) are unable to help him recover from his fallen state. But the Samaritan (Jesus Christ) applies his mission and helps the man. The Samaritan takes the man to the inn (the Church) and charges the Innkeeper (head of the Church) to take care of the man until his return (Second Coming). I like this a lot, especially as we mix new and old interpretations and put ourselves in the places of the man, the Samaritan, the Innkeeper and his helpers, respectively.

More next week.

Elder Budge

March 9, 2009

In the Tops of the Hills

Hello hello hello!

This week... I don’t remember what happened this week. All I remember is that it went by very quickly. We had a baptism that went very well. Steven Valot was his name. 21 years old. His family came. We had never met them before. We always taught him at his girlfriend’s house. In part this was because he doesn’t live in our area, he lives just outside. But President said it was okay because he was so close, had fellowship here, and that other ward is not doing so well. So, his family came, and the baptism started very late. To me this is okay because nobody showed up to mine until an hour after it was supposed to start. Or at least this is what I remember. Perhaps I’m bitter because of a fiction... Anyway, we finally did it, and we watched “Finding Faith in Christ” while he changed. The only ones really watching were his parents and sister, but they were the important ones to watch it. I know this because I had to stand next to the TV holding cables in place so that there would be both picture and sound. Both the parents were nodding a lot when the councilor in the Bishopric was talking about investigating the Church. They are from a very nonreligious background. But after the baptism the father said to me “Hey, you’re gonna have to make that font bigger for me.” Clearly implying that he’d like to be baptized. Huzzah! This is why family and friends need to come to baptisms. (Note for further understanding: The father of Steven is rather large.)

Other than that, not much news. The Zone went up in the mountains today, this is why my email is so late. It was fun, a long hike up a steep path. One of the two hermanas didn’t want to finish. The other wanted to be the first up. Finally we all made it. It’s cool, all of the missionaries who were in my district in the MTC except one are in my zone now. Of those in the Zone one didn’t go because he’s in the offices and has P-day on Saturday. It was fun. I got sunburnt. But it’s nowhere near the worst I’ve had. Not even the ones I’ve had in Argentina.

The other week (sorry for the delayed news), we were eating lunch with a member and they had the TV on. So, we had one eye on the food and one on the TV. The news was on and they started talking about and with a young couple. Wanna guess how old? The girl was 16, now guess for the guy. 80? I said a YOUNG couple. Fine, I’ll tell you. He was 13! Ugh! How horrible is that? Just wait, it’s about to get worse. They (the newsy people) were making it out as this great thing, a wonderful achievement. Gack.

As for the shoes, I frequently use two pairs. My brown dockers are reserved pretty much with my brown suit for conferences. I use a black pair that has no insole other than the ones I cannibalized from my Deer Stags. They are still in pretty much working order except they are not waterproof in the least and the sole is loose around the edges. The other pair, the newer pair, is a pair of brown slip-ons. They would still be great, but the sole of the left one is cracking just like the Deer Stags did. The crack isn’t as deep yet, but I think that it is slowly growing.

And the camera, it should be fairly easy getting a decent camera here. I just have to look at them. There is a sony cibershot here that costs somewhere around $1534 or something like that. But remember that that’s pesos. That is the most expensive one, I think. But I don’t particularly feel like getting one now, maybe in a few weeks. I also don’t much like the idea of having to pay to take it out of Argentina. That is the problem if I buy one here.

Well, until next week,

Will

March 2, 2009

A Mantis! A Mantis! A Mantis Tonight!

Hellos.

Last night we had a close encounter with a praying mantis. Elder Gonzalez had a closer encounter than I. He was about to turn on the water to wash dishes, but there was the mantis, sitting on the faucet. He called me out, and we looked at it for a while. It was covered in dust, looked more like a weird mutant dust bunny-mantis thing. It didn’t care about us much, too bothered by the dust and cleaning itself. When finally clean we learned something interesting: Mantises (Manti? I really don’t know what the plural would be) fly. We got it on the ground where it finished cleaning itself, then flew back up to the sink. Elder Gonzalez kept trying to get decent pictures of it, but was too scared that it would fly at him. Finally I provoked it and it ran up the wall. We opened the door with the plan to proad it off of the ceiling and to get it to fly out the door. This plan worked rather well. Until, when halfway to the door, the mantis caught sight of the most recent proader, dressed in bright yellow and orange, and changed course. It landed on Elder Gonzalez’s side, and he ran screaming into the bedroom where he began beating himself with a towel. This was a bad idea as that room has no light whatsoever and if the mantis got loose we would never find it again. Fortunately it rode out the storm and stayed on his shirt. I got him outside and brushed the mantis off. All in all a rather entertaining way to end the night.

Yeah, all the pics are gone minus the few that I emailed home. I guess the first third of my mission will just have to live in my memory, no pictures.

The chiropracty is because I told the mission nurse that I was having trouble sleeping in part of stress and a very lousy matress. She reccommended that I see Elder Jarvis, the chiropractor. So, I am. And I’m loosening up. I’m sure you remember how tense and everything my back was before the mission. And I have a nice new mattress to replace the horrible one. Huzzah!

A note of warning from a member in the ward at Estanzuela. Do not clean your microwave oven with steel wool. It will only end with an electrical storm withing your microwave.

I’m beginning to forget about the season change. I read that school was cancelled for Monday, and thought to myself “Huh? But school STARTS today. Hm…. Oh yeah! It’s still winter there, school’s in the middle.” Yes, school here started today. Woohoo! That means I’ve been here all Summer break. Wow.

There is a zone-wide activity this Wednesday. A sort of grand open house type jobby that is happening the same night in every chapel in the stake. And it has successfully helped estrange us from the branch. We were advised at Zone Confrerence, all of a week and a half before the proposed activity. We were supposed to get some sort of public official to come and talk as a hook. We asked the firefighters to come talk about fire prevention and to water the grass for everyone to watch. They haven’t gotten back to us. I very much get the impression that this activity will only be a success for the Zone Leaders. They had been planing with adequate time, and have a speaker (relative of someone) who can come anytime. The firemen can only come at 5 PM. The issue of planning time was brought up at Zone Conference, but the ZLs answered with “What? Don’t you have faith, Elder?” I absolutely have faith in an activity of this sort. But, I also know that for success in this stuff it needs full involvement of the wards/branches. Our branch has refused to participate. Our ward mission leader flat out told us that we couldn’t do it and that he’d talk with the bishop.

Thus is my life right now. We (hopefully) have a baptism this Saturday. Elder Gonzalez has been going around advertising it to everyone in the ward. Before the convert has even had his interview. A rather rash thing to do, I think. But I have noticed that he likes to do things last minute. Especially the important things like baptismal interviews. Oh well, what can I do, he’s senior comp. It’s his decision.

‘Till next week,

Will

February 23, 2009

Can't think of a title

Hello.

It’s interesting to me that you told me about mission pictures and birthday requests, because I have some news that is related to both.

After doing divisions I found that my camera was missing. The following morning I found that two rechargeable AAA batteries were gone. One from inside my speakers. Clearly the thief thought that because my camera was slim it used the smallish AAA batteries. There are three suspects, two missionaries, one landlord who lives behind the house, steals electricity gas and water, and has separated the houses by a thin piece of cardboard. We suspect that he saw my camera when I was taking pictures of the moon, then dropped a little kid in through the bathroom window to get my camera when we were gone. This is plausible because of how some specifics were in the bathroom when we returned and the fact that only the camera and the batteries were missing. The thief left the battery charger from the camera and the cable, which was sitting right next to the camera itself. An adult wouldn’t have done that. So, I went to Zone Conference singing “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window.” But as for the birthday requests, I would like, if you can find it, my old orange junky camera. It’s decent and small and not that great. And it’s much cheaper than buying a new camera. Let me know what you think.

Also, I have now had two sessions with a chiropractor. It’s fun stuff. Especially for my companion who gets to watch. The best part about it: it’s free! One of the councilors of the mission is a chiropractor, so I just have to go into the offices because he has a massage table there. He would like your okay though, since I’m here on your money and stuff. It seems like it’s going to be a Monday (P-day) morning thing.

In my area there is pretty much every social class. There is Campo Papas where the people go to where the grocery stores dump their spoiled things so that they can have food. We don’t go there. There’s La Estansuela which is government housing for people without much money. There’s Obra Sanitaria and Barrio Mosconi which are pretty middle-class. Then there’s Palmares. I’ve never been inside the residencial part, so I’ll describe the mall. Picture Tyson’s Galleria but newer. That’s the shopping at Palmares. There’s a movie theater there, but I haven’t found it. There’s a Mac store, lots of expensive clothing stores, an outdoors store that sells maglites. The best thing there for me is a shoe store that is perfect for missionaries. They only have dress shoes, but some are pretty much dress shoes mixed with sneakers. This is good for me since my shoes just don’t hold up. In the left shoe of the shoes I got for Christmas from Grandma Sorensen there is a crack that is slowly growing. And the first pair of shoes I got in Argentina are pretty junky. But what can you do? Argentines just don’t make shoes for walking all day, every day.


Until next week,
Elder Budge

February 16, 2009

Not titled

We had a baptism this week. A nine year old kid named Alexander Jessen. Elder Gonzalez baptized and I did the confirmation. I thought that it was weird that I confirmed him, but he asked me to and the Branch President said it was okay. Sorry for the lack of picture.

Sorry this is so short, but I do not like to write unhappy things in this, and this is currently the least happy point of my mission until now.

Will

[Hmmmm - Will's Dad]

February 9, 2009

¡¡¡Aguante los Mormones!!!

Hellos.

I had a rather amusing experience this week. There is a delinquent here who whenever he sees us shouts “Aguante Satanas!” It is about the equivilent of “uphold Satan” or something along those lines. Well, the other day we were leaving a bakery and some kids wanted to shake our hands, so I let them. Then they began following us for the rest of the block shouting “Aguante los Mormones! Aguante Jesucristo! Amen!” All in all, a rather amusing experience.

I continue to suffer from the inability to think of what to write as I go. I’m going to have to start noting things in my planner.

In the MTC I started a project to read all the Standard Works. This project grew to include the Bible Dictionary; I ommited the Topical Guide. But the reading was not in order. It began with the Book of Mormon, New Testament, D&C, Pearl of Great Price, and the Old Testament. The Bible dictionary came at the same time as the New Testament. I am now beginning Leviticus. The Bible Dictionary is a very interesting reference. I am also reading Jesus the Christ whenever I can find a half-hour or so. I rather dislike stopping in the middle of chapters.

Recently the moon has been very lovely here. As the moon was full last night, I took advantage and took some pictures. I tried to include a couple but the USB of this machine didn’t like my camera. I also learned how to take decent pictures of the moon with a point-and-shoot.

I hope that all is going well in a land now draped in winter. It’s been around 90 degrees inside our apartment during the day.

Love,

Will

February 3, 2009

More Winter? But it's summer...

Happy Groundhog Day!

I actually had completely forgot that that was today, it being summer and all, until I saw a couple of dogs driving a car and started thinking about the movie with Bill Murray. How’d that turn out by the way? Six more weeks of winter, right?

I don’t really know what to say. My mind just went completely blank. So, I shall talk on street signs. In the United States there are those “Slow Children at Play” signs to warn drivers of the obese children playing in the street. In Argentina there are similar signs, only they warn of a fate other than hitting a child. They say “Niños Jugando” and the picture is a child kicking a soccer ball. These signs mean “Watch out! Some kid’s gonna smash your windshield with a ball!” At least the kids on the signs here seem to be more active than those in the States.

We have a baptismal date. Alexander Jessen. Sounds almost like Jason Alexander switched. He found that amusing. He’s nine years old. He is the son of a less-active member. I’ll probably be gone when he gets baptized. But that’s fine since I didn’t really teach him.

Transfers are this week. Elder Gonzalez was under the impression that I would be a District Leader in San Juan. But there was no call from the President, so that’s out. Senior Comp is in the works, though, I think. We both suspect that I am going back to my last area in San Juan, as there will be in influx of missionaries this week.

Apologies for the shortness, but I can’t think of what to say. The second councilor of the bishopric here looks just like the Scarecrow from Batman Begins. That’s kinda cool. The Bishop looks kinda like Mario. No other celebrity look-alikes I don’t think.

More news for sure next week.

Love,
Will

January 26, 2009

Internet went out in all the Cibers, so from a member's house. Shhh...

Hellos again.

I found it interesting that both Mom and Kelly closed their e-mails with apologies about rambling. I guess we’re just a rambling family. (Flashes of the Muppet Show with Steve Martin fly through my head.) I also found Dad’s comment on how Kelly looked so grown up [in her school's musical] interesting. Everybody who looks at my pictures thinks that 1) Paul is me. 2) Kelly is in her 20s. Weird.

Anyways, news of the week. There isn’t much. I wish that people would leave me alone about Obama, though. 1) It’s a breach of protocol for me to talk about politics. 2) I am here with no way of knowing what’s giong on. I, therefore, have no opinions about Obama so far. 3) This seems to be a week of lists. All I know about Obama is what the Argentines tell me, and I really don’t trust their sources. But it would seem that Obama has shut down Guantanamo Bay. Again, no opinions because I have absolutely no info. So, don’t ask me about it. Next question.

Hmm... I’m sitting here across from a Santeria. Maybe I’ll come home with a Gauchito Gil... I’m not sure what he is. A gaucho. I think that people think he’s a Saint. I don’t think he qualifies. But he’s a kinda cool looking gaucho.

I’ve decided that my area, geographically, is a lot like Provo. We’re up in the foothills of the cordillera. Sometimes I can see a peak with snow. But the area is entirely hills, and thus more difficult to walk all around than my other areas.

I get the suspicion that I will be back in San Juan next transfer, though. It would seem as, maybe, senior comp.

Godoy Cruz is a city in the greater Mendoza area. Kinda like the difference between Pentagon and Crystal Cities. But with more people. And suburbish neighborhoods.

That’s about it for now.

Until next week,

Will