¡Querida familia y queridos amigos!
Good news, myldsmail account is up and running again and I recieved your emails from last week. Good to know all is well and it´s always great to hear from you. We have yet to enjoy an entire week without a rain storm, maybe that´s just how it is here, but today is a beautiful day. We have developed a new system for rating how nice the weather is by how many Testigos de Jehova are out in the streets. The higher the number, the nicer the day. Rainy days = 0. Along with the weather Elder Spence and I have been a little sick which isn´t any fun, but the work goes on despite the weather and I´m learning how to be better about not complaining.
This past week we had our Zone conference. It´s always fun to see the other missionaries from our area and I got to talk with Elder Hinton and some other friends from the MTC for a bit. There is so much to learn and we have some great leaders. One of the senor missionaries had a son who was visiting and he shared his testimony (in Spanish) with us which was pretty cool. Also it is always great to hear from Pres. Asay and his wife and I have no doubt he is called of God to direct this work here in Argentina Buenos Aires South! Also, we found out that because Pres. y Sis. Asay live in our Zone in Banfield, our zone gets to have our interviews for the transfer on Christmas day and eat Christmas dinner in the mission home! Nothing like being at home... but I suppose it would probably be the next best thing! :)
This week there was a very sad accident that happened in our area. There is an area with housing of 2 storie, very narrow, brick houses that are all smashed together, kind of like what you might call a condo? Anyways, apparently a 3 year old was playing with a lighter and started something on fire and it burned through 4 or 5 houses (luckily didn´t hit the shared gas line that runs through all the houses). Everyone made it out safely except for the baby brother of the kid that started the fire who was upstairs sleeping. Very sad. We later found out that the baby that died was the nephew of one of our investigators (Alejandra) whom we recently started teaching the plan of salvation. What a blessing to be able to teach her the second part of that lesson, that life is more than just this very brief existance on the earth. It was amazing to see her outlook change on the whole event, that even though she was still very sad, she felt a great comfort and peace in the knowledge that families can be together for ever, and that her and her family will see that baby again. In Testimony meeting this Sunday this event was brought up because several members live close to where it happened. Alejandra showed up for the last 15 minutes or so of Sacrament meeting (we passed by her house in the morning but she had been up all night with the mother of the baby and was sleeping when we got there) and Elder Spence shared a very powerful testimony of the plan of Salvation, couldn´t have been more perfect. After the meeting she told us that she really wanted to bring her sister and her whole family because she recognizes the comfort the gospel can bring.
It doesn´t even feel like Christmas is close, but even the stores in Argentina go all out with decorations and stuff for Christmas and I have even seen a couple houses with Christmas Lights. Apparently Christmas is also a pretty dangerous time of year, and we have some special rules to help us stay safe! The last couple weeks I have been playing the piano in sacrament meeting and have had some time to practice. It´s been fun playing some of the Christmas hymns, but wow, nothing makes you miss home more than thinking about Christmas. At the same time this made me realize the great opportunity I have to refocus myself on the true meaning of Christmas. Last night the mission put on a Christmas program called "noche de luz" that they have done the last several years with singing and a story/movie all put on by the missionaries. It was fantastic and was a perfect way to remember and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas through honoring the life of Jesus Christ. There were lots of members and investigators there and it was awesome how they tied in the message of the Restoration as well. There was a great spirit there and I know everyone there had to have felt the same. I would challenge you all to do something a little extra this year to remember the life of our Savior at this time of year and to follow the example he has set for us.
Anyways, that´s all for this week! Have a fantastic week and be careful with the snow and ice while I enjoy some sun!
¡Les quiero mucho!
Elder Ian Wheelhouse