¡A mi querido familia y amigos!
I was excited to recieve email from so many of you this week and it sounds like things are going very well in Utah! So good to hear. The work is going fantastic down here and even though I am still very overwhelmed by the language I am learning more and more everyday and I´m so happy to be here! Last week I forgot to wish you all a happy Dia de Madres! Here in Argentina they celebrate mothers day in October, which made that Sunday pretty tough for getting investigators to church and finding new people to teach. Also Happy Birthday to Trevor! I can try to find a card to send but I don´t know how long the mail takes to get there so it might be Thanksgiving before you recieve it!
Dad I took your advice that you gave me last week and we have sung hymns for several of our investigators. What a great way to invite the spirit! The first time we were actually teaching a lessons and when I went to get my scriptures out the 8 year old girl sitting next to me wanted to look through my bag. All I had was scriptures, some folletos (Pamphlets) and my hymn book! She was curious about the hymnbook and started looking through it and I asked her if she liked to sing. She said yes, so we stopped the lesson for a minute and sang Families can be together forever (both verses in spanish) as well as one verse in English just for fun. :) I was suprised to find out that Elder Spence can sing really well, so after the lesson we decided we would sing more as part of our lessons! There is definitely great power and a great spirit that comes from singing the hymns!
I think I ate better this week than I have in my whole mission. One night we got together with the other Elders in our district (Elder Manning and Elder Baggaley) and had a "Yankee" Asado (They call us Shankees here). WE grilled up some fantastic meat and made garlic mashed potatoes and a delicious cesar salad. We got all the food for about $6 USD each, which considering how much steak we got is a fantastic price.
Yesterday we had Stake Conference which was a fantastic meeting (from what I could actually understand) as well as a meeting that brought some significant changes. The Ward we were in was split, and so Elder Spence and I are now in the new Branch of Fiorito. It´s going to be an interesting next couple of weeks as we are the only people with callings in the ward besides the Branch Presidency, and I have no idea how many members there will be. I will let you know more about this as we get more information. Also as part of this split our area was changed a little bit, and we lost the part which happened to be where Ernesto (one of our favorite investigators that we found my first week here) as well as all of our lunch appointments live. Pretty bummed about that... but the work will go on! Yesterday as with every Sunday we went around to several investigators houses to try to get them to come to church with us. This is probably the most difficult thing for our investigators here to do (Most people are great about keeping commitments to read and pray). Throughout the week they will tell us that they are planning to go to church with us and seem excited, but then when we show up at their house sunday morning they always come up with excuses. We did end up getting Jorge and his 16 old son Brian to come with us which was awesome! There is definately a great need for men in the church down here and these two are two fantastic future priesthood holders. This was their first time at church and there were some great messages shared that hopefully they were able to hear and understand.
This week we also had Zone conference which was a lot of fun! There was only 1 Elder there that I knew from my district at the MTC, but it was fun to talk to him! As far as the meeting went, I learned some great things from President y Hna. Asay as well as the AP´s. We also went over the numbers for our zone and the work is definitely making great progress down here! Our goal as a mission is to double baptisms and increase attendance at church (I´m assuming this goal is measured by the time Pres. Asay has been here.) Afterwards we had a great lunch and basically that was it!
Some interesting things about the area: The border that seperates our area from the north mission is the dirtiest river in the world, it really is disgusting to even look at and I don´t think it is possible for anything to live in or near it. Also, across the river there is a race car track, so for the past 3 days or so we have been serenaded by the sound of Gran Tourismo race cars all day long. Yesterday morning they had a HUGE freemarket set up all over the streets. It made me feel like I was in a third world country, and it was so cool! I can´t even imagine how much time it took them all to set up their stands with their merchandise, and I imagine this is a pretty regular event for them too! They had everything from food, to clothes, to cd´s, to animals... basically anythign you could ever want!
Another intresting thing about the culture down here that most of you probably know already is the Besos. All the people here greet each other by touching cheeks and making a kissing sound, but we as missionaries aren´t supposed to do that. Since I am knew I haven´t been able to master the art of dodging the besos. One time we were with an investigator just getting ready to say a prayer (I had my arms folded, eyes closed, head down and everything) when his daughter walked in the house (right behind me) and they started talking. I went to look up to see what was going on, and as soon as I looked up BAM she was right there and I got besoed. My comp laughed and as she went to beso him he politely explained why we don´t give/recieve besos, but it was already too late. Another funny thing, people down here believe that there are only 6 continents: Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Antarctica and America. I still haven´t been able to figure out how they can justify North and South America being a single continent while Asia and Europe are seperate...
We have a lot of great investigators that are progressing right now and we´ve got 7 people with a Baptismal date and several more that we are planning to commit this week! Very exciting, but first we need to get people to start coming to church! One of my favorites is Noelia (16) and Andrea Garcia (8) (the ones we sang to the first time). We actually found them because Noelia was at her friend Rosa Chenas house (a member) when we were visiting them! We read from the Book of Mormon with her and gave her a Book of Mormon then asked when we could visit her family. We have visited them several times and they are doing great with the reading and praying! I always feel the spirit very strong when we are with them, and once they go to church they will be ready to get baptized and are very excited about it!
WEll that´s about all for me! We are headed to play some futbol today! Pdays are great down here! Last week we went and ate at McDonalds (sooo good) and we went bowling! There are so many things to do here and I always look forward to learning new things everyday. The church is true here in Argentina (and everywhere). I love you all and I am excited to hear from you next week!
Les Quiero Mucho!