Monday, February 22, 2010

Hay lluvia (It's raining)

Hello family and friends!

Looks like the seasons are changing here and we have had several days of rain this week with much cooler temperatures. A less than ideal welcome to the coast for my new companion. In a week or two all the tourists will be gone and school will be starting here again on March 1. When the people are gone we will be able to spend our Pdays on the beach, so we are all looking forward to playing some futbol and frisbee on the beach as a zone! Apparently the church has been working with Google to set up a new myldsmail system, just a heads up because my address may change in the next week or two.

Things are going really well with my new companion Elder Adair. He is from Kamas, Utah and has about 16 months in the mission. Speaking english in the pension has been nice and we always have lots to talk about. Its always interesting to me seeing how each of my companions have different approaches to missionary work and there is always a lot to learn. He did have a bit of an argument with our Ward Mission Leader in our Missionary Correlation meeting, (he is pretty difficult to work with), but things are better now after some good council from Pres. Asay.

We are looking forward to having the baptism this Saturday for a 68 year old lady named Natividad! We found her several weeks ago and it turns out she had met with the missionaries several years ago and was going to be baptized until her "angel missionary" got transferred to another area. Its sad to see people that are converted to the missionaries rather than the church, so we have been trying very hard to help her gain a testimony and to make friends in the branch! The members have been a great support in welcoming her at church and accompanying us to lessons. She understands the gospel really well and is excited to be baptized. She is a bigger lady and is worried that we wont be able to get her back up out of the water, but we reassured her that there is nothing to worry about. We have several other people that are progressing really well and we hope to see several more baptisms in the next couple weeks!

That’s all for now! I hope you all have a great week and a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to KRISTINE! :)

Les amo,

Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Adios Elder Gonzales

Sent: Monday, February 15, 2010 12:45 PM

Buenas Tardes family and friends!

Sounds like you all are enjoying some warmer weather as things are starting to cool down here! It's always great to hear how things are going at home and in the ward! The tourist season is almost over and things are finally starting to settle down. Apparently it is going to be a whole different place in March when all the tourists are gone, but should bring some nice changes as well (everything is really expensive right now because they raise all the prices during vacation season).

Biggest news for this week is that my third transfer is over and Elder Gonzales left for Buenos Aires yesterday to his new area in Adrogue after spending 7 months here in Santa Teresita. My new companion Elder Ader from the USA will be arriving tonight around 10 pm, and other than that I know absolutely nothing about him. I was hoping for another Latino but at the same time it will be a big relief to be able to speak some English in the pension. Right now I am with Elder Coñuñir from Chile who also is waiting for his new companion here in San Clemente. His old companion, Elder Rice, was our district leader, and our new district leader is in a city called Dolores an hour and a half by bus from where we are, so it will be interesting making that long trip once a week for district meeting.

Other exciting news, yesterday I got to talk to Elder Spence who is staying in Fiorito for yet ANOTHER transfer (this will be his 6th transfer = 9 months). Apparently Jorge and Alejandra are both doing really well and are both still active in the church. As you can imagine I was and am VERY HAPPY to know that. He said that Alejandra always prays for me as "her best friend Elder Wheelhouse". I was very humbled to hear that and it's amazing the joy that comes from bringing people to a greater knowledge of their Savior Jesus Christ and his church. I also feel a great responsibility as it says in the Mission Manual to always live worthy of the trust of the people that I come in contact with and great desires to keep in contact with them!

Yesterday I also had my first opportunity to teach Gospel Principles which I was a little nervous for because I had about 5 minutes notice, but it ended up being very easy. We had a small class of 6 recent converts and investigators and the new Gospel Principles book is AWESOME. We had a great discussion about the Creation and it made me think a lot of all the amazing things that God has created for us to enjoy. Everyone participated which was really nice because it made it a lot easier for me and there were some great comments.

Anyways, that's all from me for this week. Hope you all had a Happy Valentines Day and have a great week!

Les amo mucho!
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, February 8, 2010

¡Buenas tardes de San Clemente!

Hello family and friends!

No I haven’t been transferred to San Clemente, but I am there right now because Elder Gonzales and I recently finished our adventures at Mundo Marino. (Basically like Sea World except in Spanish and smaller, but hey it’s the biggest in all of South America). We had a lot of fun and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect after a very rainy weekend. Seeing as it is very late in the afternoon and we’ve got to get back to our area to work I am very short on time, but here are a couple things that happened this week.

This week I had my first really bad experience with a contentious Evangelist who we found last Sunday. Last week we had a nice chat with them and left them the challenge to read a chapter from the Book of Mormon and to pray to see if it is true, which they accepted. This week we went back to follow up and see how it went to find out that he didn’t read, and that he had made a decision. At this point he started going off about how the Bible is the only word of God, that it doesn’t talk about the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith in the Bible, and how we are following Satan by believing... stuff like that. Basically it was really sad to see how he reacted to the whole situation and wouldn’t listen to anything we had to say. We bore our testimonies the best we could and left. I’ve thought a lot about this experience since then because there were so many things I wanted to say to him to try to "prove him wrong". But I am glad that we did what we did because the Spirit can’t be present when there is contention. As members of the church we aren’t here to PROVE that the Book of Mormon is true, but rather to bear testimony and invite others to act for themselves to obtain the same testimony that can only come through the power of the Holy Ghost.

On a lighter note, we also had some successes this week. We found an awesome family of 5 who you might even call "Golden". The father told us he has rejected the missionaries several times before, but lately he has been realizing more and more that something is missing in his life. He has a great relationship and desire to strengthen his family and was very receptive to our message and I think he recognizes how it can bless his family. We actually came in contact with his family because a member in our ward invited his kids to church one Sunday, where we were able to talk with them
and set a time to pass by their house. Missionary work is so much more effective when the members are helping to find families!

Hope you all have a great week and a fantastic Valentines Day! (Also, you all can celebrate my 6 month mark with me this Friday by writing me a letter! YAY!)

Les amo,
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, February 1, 2010

Hace MUCHO Calor!

[”Besitos” are “little kisses” on the cheek and are a customary greeting/farewell between friends and acquaintances in Uruguay and Argentina (and elsewhere). Missionaries have to be alert to avoid incoming besitos from young women. -- Scott]

Mis queridos familiares y amigos,

Very hot week here in the Coast with a big rainstorm yesterday to make the humidity today even worse. In case you wanted to know I am sweating like crazy just sitting here typing this email. Dad and Kristine, thank you for the updates on all the happenings back home, sounds like everyone is doing well and keeping busy! It’s good to hear Tyler, Jason, and Jonny are doing well, I wish I could keep in contact with them, but I’m sure we’ll have an "Alma y Sons of Mosiah" reuniting party when we are all back home one day. I’m glad they are doing well, and what a great blessing to be in the service of the Lord.

This week we received a call from a Bishop that was visiting here from Italy with his family, and his sister from Buenos Aires, asking us to come visit them and share a message. Of course we’re not going to turn down an opportunity where someone ASKS us to come teach them, so we set an appointment and passed by later that day. Turns out that the Sister from Buenos Aires recently came in contact with the Assistants from our mission (Elder Woolley and Elder Moreno) and has met with them twice in Adrogue. There was a little bit of pressure knowing that our teaching would be compared with that of the Assistants, but we were able to read with her in Moroni 10 and testify of the Book of Mormon, and as always it is AWESOME to have a member there to share their testimony as well. It was fun talking with them and getting to know their family a little bit. It turns out that this bishop from Italy has 3 children that are on missions right now (Greece, Argentina Buenos Aires Norte, y Spain Madrid), one that we figured happened to be in the MTC with me for 3 days.

Yesterday I also had my first opportunity to give a blessing in Spanish. I was on divisions with our ward mission leader and we passed by an Hermana from our Branch that wasn’t in church that morning, and apparently she is having lots of problems and has been sick lately to make things worse. I was a little caught of guard when she asked me to give the blessing and a little worried at first about not knowing what to say, but as I started speaking the words came and as far as I know I think they understood the words coming out of my mouth. What a blessing to have the Priesthood and it was a great experience that strengthened my testimony that that power really comes from our Heavenly Father.

I hope you all have a fantastic week and as always I would love to hear from all of you next week! Thank you for your prayers and support!

Con mucho amor y Argentine besitos :P,

Elder Wheelhouse