Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Familia!!! Estoy aca! 0‏4/18/11 Week 10 & 11 Arrived in Argentina

Hey everyone!

Well, I´m here I´m here.  and still alive haha.  My p-days are on Monday now, so thats what´s going on.  I´m currently at a little building around the corner where they have computers...there are just a bunch of kids playing warcraft, and then me and my companion haha.  But anyway, here´s whats happened since I called in Atlanta:  The plane ride was quite long, about 9 hours or so.  I only slept for about 2 hours of it, and they were showing movies on the screen I didn´t really want to have my reading light on during the night because I didnt want to wake people upw, so I basically just stared at my drinking cup the whole time haha.  We got to Buenas Aires around 8 o´clock on tuesday....i think we are four hours ahead from home, but not sure.  We got off the plane and went to a tiny airport that they have.  There´s basically one room where you pick up your bags and one room to check in haha.  So, after standing in line for 20 minutes or so to get my passport checked and stuff, we walked to the enterance where some missionaries and people were waiting for us.  Then, we split up from there, saying goodbye to my MTC amigos going to Mendoza was pretty hard, but yep.  Those of us going to Rosario...about 12 of us I think, can´t remember, loaded up into a couple of white vans and headed off.  Its definitely way different here.  The roads are all pretty beat up, and there are 2 lanes on most roads........except there aren´t any lines separating lanes, and everyone drives pretty crazy.  People switch lanes when they want, dodging pedestrians and bikers, no speed limits.  Yeah, it´s pretty sweet haha.  Anyway, back to the van, the ride was supposed to last 3 hours to Rosario, but it ended up taking the van I was in 6.  Our driver was super lost, and he wasn´t the brightest fellow....while on the main road to rosario, i knew this because you´d see signs every few miles, he suddenly turned off to a random road that was in terrible condition. We actually just drove on the dirt next to the road haha, yeah, that bad.  Anyway, we finally after a long while turned off the road and started heading some direction but I couldn´t tell which.  The climate is super flat here, and I can´t tell directions without mountains haha.  Anyway, we drove for a while one direction, when suddenly the driver turned us around......and we did this about 5 times I think before he finally pulled over and asked for directions.  Anyway, we finally made it to the Mission home 6 hours later.  My mission president´s name is President Villalba, and him and his wife are super nice.  So anyway, after getting settled in there for the night we had a few meetings with the assistants to the presidents, we finally went out and grabbed some food!  talk about tons better than the MTC haha.  They have pretty good food here, I haven´t been able to try a ton of it since I´m pretty poor and don´t have time, but it´s good.  Anyway, the next day we got to meet our trainers for our first area.  My companions name is Elder Techeira from Uruguay.  And he doesn´t speak hardly any all.  Pretty much all he can say is random words, but he´s great.  Anyway, my area that I am serving in is called Parque Del Sur inSanta Fe.  It´s a pretty beat uwp town, super different from home. The first night here, Elder Techeira and I went shopping...and I had no idea what I was doing.  They whole peso thing throws me off, so i don´t buy too many things because I don´t want to run out of money hahaa. 
Anyway,  the other two elders in my pension (apartment) are Elder Tella (i think) and Elder Pixon.  They are from Argentina and Draper Utah.  Anyway, as far as the language goes and such....pretty much like starting all over.  When we go out and teach people, I can only catch words, but not enough to create sentences, so it´s been super hard to help Elder Techeira teach people.  In the movie  "the best two years" when kirby heyborne says "this isn´t the language they taught me in the MTC".  Exactly how i feel haha.  So, i don´t do a ton of talking during lessons, and when i do they can´t understand my gringo accent haha and i don´t know their dialect yet, but I´m doing the best that I can.  I pretty much strive on body language, and when Elder Techeira stops talking and stares at me, thats when i know to start talking haha.  It was pretty rough the first couple of days with everything. new place, new culture, new people, new language.  But i´m starting to settle in, rely everything I have on the Lord, have the faith that i can learn this language, and go to work.  The people here are so nice and humble, and it´s been such a blessing to serve among them so far. Anyway, i´m sending the pictures that I have taken so far, which haven´t been many since i haven´t had time. Mostly of the mission home and our pension in Parque Del Sur.  wow this keyboard is hard to type on, all the buttons are different. anyway, my day pretty much goes as followed: wake up at 630, exercise for 30 mintutes, usually a run, get ready, have personal study, companionship study, and language study until 1030, go out and work until 9 haha.  As far as the culture goes, everyone is pretty nice and laid back.  All of the houses have gates in front of them, probably because of robberies, but we just clap most of the time instead of knock on doors.  There´s parts of the city called villas, which are the really really poor parts.  The houses are made basically out of scrap metal and whatever else people can find, and its super super humbling to go and talk to the people.  i´ve been so humbled during my experience here, it´s helped me realize just how much i have.  another funny thing about some of the houses is that sometimes we will go into a pretty run-down house, and there´s nothing super nice in them, except they will have a nice tv. haha it´s pretty funny.  Also at our pension, we have a pretty big fan that we use at night to cool us down, it´s pretty loud, but i´m able to sleep through it.  Also, for all of the gates in front of houses, they have cool looking keys.  Elder techeira has the ones for our pension, and i call them castle keys.  they are like the one that you have by the back door mom, only smaller.  anyway...what´s super weird not hearing english ever....or even understanding spanish haha, but i´m working super hard to learn the language, so i´m hoping it will come soon.  Anyway, i should have brought peanut butter mom haha, Elder Pixon asked me like the first day if i had any haha.  he´s the only one i can talk to in english, so it´s pretty stress relieving when he´s around.  Everyone else i have to have them repeat their sentance a few times + use hand signals, then i understand :).  Also about our pension, the shower for me is usually pretty cold since i´m the last one to use it....but i had a special treat of having a warm one this morning haha.  We also wash our clothes by hand at the pension, but i haven´t done that yet today.  We went and shopped for food today at walmart. yes walmart.  there are only 3 in Argentina í´ve heard, and two of them are close together in our area haha. Anyway, we walk everywhere, except when going to walmart and places, we take a taxi.  Also, we can only listen to Mormon Tabernacle Choir, so it kinda stinks cuz i have all this other music too, but it´s ok, it keeps me focused on the work.  On this past Sunday, Elder Techeira told me I had to give an 8 minute talk in sacrament......and i was like what?  i only had about 40 minutes to prepare the morning of, and then we headed off to church.  When we got there, the bishop said i was going to bear my testimony today, so that´s all i did.  It went pretty good and pretty simple haha.  It´s hard talking with the members, but i do the best i can.  I usually ask questions, then they give an answer, and i say ¨"si, si" haha, but over the last few days i have definitely improved on the language.  slowly and surely it´ll come.  Unfortunately the people talk super fast here, and leave letters out of words..but i catch what i can.  Anyway, i hope everything is going great at home!! it´s nice to finally send you an email and tell you how things are going!  it´s been the hardest experience of my life being here, but i know it´s going to be the most rewarding, especially for those people we can help bring unto Christ.  haha, the first couple of days here, me and elder techeira wouldn´t talk very much since i couldn´t understand him when he talks and he knows i don´t know a lot...but its definitely started to open up because i decided to break out of my shell and just speak everything i know, and making a lot of mistakes while doing so haha.  but i absolutely love teaching the people.  even though i can´t understand them very much when talking, ive had some experiences where you can literally see the spirit working inside them. it´s absolutely an amazing thing.  Also, we have 2 baptisms set for the far as i know if i understand what´s going on, so that should be exciting and i´ll let you know how that goes.  Also on the first day at the mission home, all of us new missionaries got to go to a baptism, which was way cool.  Anyway, i´m not really sure what else to say.  i´m surviving down here, and doing the best that i can to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Also, Elder Techeira only has 5 weeks left in his mission, so we are really trying to push eachother.  me to learn the routine, and him to finish strong.  Family, i want to testify to you that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true.  God lives and loves all of his children, every single one in this world.  my scripture for the week is phillipians 4:13.  It´s only through Jesus Christ that I´ve been able to accomplish and make it through all of my experiences here.  I wake up with gratitude and joy every morning knowing that i get to go spread the gospel for another day.  my testimony continues to strengthen each day.  im doing the best i can with the language, but i´m mostly focused on having the spirit with me at all times, since i know that is what is going to convert people.  i feel bad for my companion because it feels like i don´t do a lot as far as teaching goes, but im striving to be always optimistic and to love every second out here.  I hope you enjoy the pictures that i send, and i´ll send more every week hopefully.  also family, i´d love to hear from you through email.  and i also found out that friends and anyone else that wants to can send me emails, i just have to respond through mail.  so, id love to hear from you all family and friends, and when i get the letter system figured out here, i will send you a letter back :).  thanks so much for all that you have given me in my life, especially for this opportunity.  it´s the hardest thing ever, but i´ve grown more than ever before.  anyway, i still have a little more time, so i´ll tell you about soccer! yesterday a team called Colon played here in the city.  They play every weekend i think.  Everyone wears red and black jerseys that day, and i´m not sure where the stadium is, but you can hear the crowd from anywhere in the city.  anyway, let me know what else you want to know.  every morning we eat breakfast, and the lunches are the biggest meal of the day here.  we usually get lunch from members, which is tons better than what i make myself at the pension, and then we usually don´t have dinner here, just snacking.  it´s definitely a culture to try and get used to. also, every day from 2-4 they have what is called a ciesta.  the whole city shuts down and everyone takes a nap ha.  we usually just keep tracting or go and study at the pension.  well, i guess i´ll stop now since this letter is so long, but i love you all!!! i miss you a ton, but i know this is where i am supposed to be.  i have a lot to learn, but i can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me.  This is his work, and i glory not of myself.  well, i´ll talk to you next week!  i pray for you all the time, and i hope all is well.  Will you let everyone know they can write me emails? i´d love to hear how everyone is doing.  Ciao!!

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