Monday, May 31, 2010

May is gone!

Dear family and friends,

Wow I can´t believe May has already come and gone. I think the colder weather is finally here to stay for the winter! I can´t believe you are still getting snow back home! It was good to hear that everyone finished up school and sounds like everyone had a pretty good finish! (Any news back yet on that scholorship Kristen?) Únfortunately I can´t send any "fotos de la semana" this week because the computer I am on won´t let me download my pictures.

It´s been another slower week here in Santa Teresita, but we had some good things that happened. Best of all we were able to set 2 new baptismal dates with a great couple we found the first week of the transfer (Ramon y Rosa). Really a testimony to me of the importance of talking to everyone. If we hadn´t talked to him at the bus stop we might never have found them! Also their 33 year old son showed up at their house right as we were about to invite them to be baptized. It was a little awkward at first but by the end of the lesson he actually seemed really interested (he asked if he could come to church) and we are hoping to start teaching him and his family soon. We are doing our best to talk to everyone but we are having a hard time getting into houses to teach which is pretty frustrating. Doing contacts it seems like no one wants to talk to us and the people we do set citas with are never home when we go back. However, we were able to find José after 2-3 weeks of not hearing anything from him and he still has the desires to be baptized and came to church this Sunday. He is the only one of our investigators who would be able to be baptized for our Sabado Blanco on June 12 so we´re hoping to help him work towards that goal.

Also this week we had the all-to-rare occurance of getting a ride from a complete stranger. (Not to rare for Elder McClurg, apparently in the Provo Mission the few missionaries that don´t have cars can PLAN on recieving rides wherever they need to go) We were walking down a street one cold afternoon and a younger couple pulled up to us in a newer Peugot 206 SW and asked where we were going. We told them the direction of the church and they told us they were headed that way and offered us a ride. We got in the back seat sitting on both sides of their 5 year old daughter (probably scared the poor girl to death). We had a good time talking with them and were able to share a brief message with them and leave them a folleto before we got out of the car. Didn´t seem REALLY interested, and apparently they aren´t home much, but hopefully we will run into them again and have another opportunity to talk. We were both grateful that even amidst all the people that slam their doors in our faces, it was nice to see someone who went out of their way to help us out.

Wednesday was our last Zone Conference/Interviews with Pres. Asay. We talked a lot about the importance of getting GOOD references as the focus for this transfer is Ch. 9 out of preach my gospel which talks about Finding People to Teach. Also, Pres. y Hna. Asay spent the last hour or so answering any questions we could come up with and shared some great stories/doctrinal insights. They shared the story of how they were called to preside in the Buenos Aires South mission by Pres. Faust, who at the time was going down hill health wise, after having been told by Elder Scott that they would most likely be called to the Montevideo Uruguay mission. Pres. Asay also shared something that was very meaningful for me right now in the mission. He said "Our abilities and talents aren´t as important to the Lord as our obedience. If the Lord wanted to he could send 5 year olds to preach the gospel and give them all the talent and abilities they would need to do so, but he calls us instead to test our obedience." Hna. Asay shared one of the greatest difficulties she had in coming to Argentina on a mission was the necesity to step outside her comfort zone in leaving her family and coming to a country where she couldn´t speak the language. She told us that leaving our comfort zone behind gives us a special opportunity to rely on the Lord and to feel him strengthen us in our needs.

Anyways, lots more I could share but no time to do so! I hope you all have a fantastic first week of summer!

Les amo,

Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, May 24, 2010

Queridos amigos,

Sounds like you all had an exciting week with school wrapping up and getting all ready for the adventures of summer. This last week it has been overcast every single day looking like it was going to rain. The rain FINALLY hit last night and I imagine it will continue throughout the day today. I almost feel bad for all the tourists who came to the coast to enjoy the long holiday weekend for 25 de Mayo. Still nothing like it was in the summer but it has been different seeing so many people in the streets! One of Pres. Asay´s counselors came down with his family from la Plata and their family of 8 in church made up about 25% of the congregation.

We definitely had a better week this week even with losing almost a whole day due to a District Meeting in Dolores. In addition to having to leave at 6 in the morning to get there on time... In the afternoon our district leader was told that we had a bus that left the terminal in Dolores at 245 to make the 2 hour trip back to our area, so after finishing up our meeting everyone wanted to play futbol to pass the time before the bus came. When we got to the terminal at 215-230 we found out that the 2:45 bus didn't exist but that there was one that left at 200 that we had just missed. The next bus didn't come until 530 so we ended up sitting around in the terminal for a couple hours and talked to some people. We missed 2 citas that we had planned, but were at least able to save the rest of our night when we got back to our area at 730.

We made a special effort this week to talk to everyone and probably the best contacts we had were those we stopped in the street. Unfortunately the majority of the people we had set citas with weren't home... in total we had 12 citas that blew us off this week which was a little discouraging. We are working hard to have 3 people prepared for a "Sabado Blanco" coming up June 12 where 2 other areas in our zone are going to bring all their baptisms to our church and we are going to have a big baptismal service. We are already to crunch time as our only hope of having baptisms for this date are: José, who we haven´t been able to find at his house for the last 2 weeks, and any investigators we have right now or find during this week who will have to be in church the next two Sundays in addition to receiving all the lessons/keeping commitments. We are teaching some great people and have had some success finding some old investigators (including Julio y Carolina). We have been teaching a great couple named Ramon y Rosa the last week or so. We actually found him doing contacts while waiting for a bus and the first time we went to his house for a cita they were there waiting and invited us in. They have a 33 year old son who is handicap which I think has really humbled them, and they have been keeping all their commitments - reading/praying... we have yet to see them in church however. They have really gained a strong testimony of prayer and I honestly think that is their favorite part of the lesson each time we go over there.
It´s really a blessing for me being able to work with Elder McClurg. We are both learning and growing a lot, ad hopefully some of the ideas we have come up with will help this area continue to progress. He is a great teacher and I am learning a lot from him.

Hope you all have a great week! Congratulations all you graduates!

Les amo,

Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, May 17, 2010

The NEW Santa Teresita

Dear Family and Friends

Wow what a week! Sounds like you already got the news about who my "trainee" is. I am very excited to be working with Elder McClurg and I think we will have some success here in Santa Teresita. That´s exciting to hear about all the missionaries who are getting home this month. Can´t believe it! It´s amazing how the time flies in the mission. Here´s a little about my week.

Monday after the long bus ride up to the mission home I enjoyed a nice homemade Hna. Asay dinner of Chili with homemade bread and honeybutter with some cake and ice cream to top it off. :) I spent the night with an Elder Zarco from El Salvador who was finishing up his mission and heading home the next day. It was fun talking to him and it turns out he served in Santa Teresita as well for 6 months of his mission. Also got to have a 1 on 1 meeting with Pres. Asay to talk about my area and he gave me some great counsel and expressed his concerns and hopes for the branch here. He told me I would have a great companion and that we will have a lot of work to do. When I finally got to sleep I slept GREAT and it was nice to be able to walk around without shoes on nice soft CARPET.

The next morning we had a great French Toast breakfast with 100% orange juice which was very tasty. We met up with the other missionaries who are training this transfer (including Elder Hinton) and had a trainers training with the Assistants and Pres. Asay. Had a good time catching up with Elder Hinton and some of the other missionaries we knew from the MTC. (I think we were all hoping to train Elder McClurg). Finally the new missionaries arrived from Capital and the assignments were made. Very excited to hear Elder McClurg would be my new companion! Unfortunately we had to eat lunch really fast and leave to catch our bus to come back to our area. We were both exhausted but had a good chat on the way to Santa Teresita.

We had a pretty rough first week and were sick for several days. We were still able to get out and work and had some success finding some great people. Elder McClurg already speaks spanish and teaches really well after serving in the Provo Mission for 6 months. He definitely speaks like a mexican, but that will change with time! It will be a big adjustment for him getting used to life here in Argentina based on what I have heard about how missionaries live in Provo. We don´t have a car, we don´t live in a nice apartment building/basement of a members house, we don´t have several families who want to give us dinner every night and sometimes we don´t even have lunch citas, people don´t honk or wave at us and shout words of encouragement... actually it´s quite the opposite. But it´s something every missionary here has got to get used to sooner or later. Also I find it funny to be "training" an Elder who has taught more lessons than I have and has baptized more people.

We are going to work hard this transfer to get the members here excited about missionary work and especially get our Branch President more involved. We both had the opportunity to speak in church yesterday (my 5th time speaking here in Santa Teresita). I spoke on Weaknesses and Elder McClurg spoke on conversion/witnesses. Preparing my talk I realized how many weaknesses I have, especially as a missionary, but realized how our weaknesses and trials are really opportunities to progress and grow given to us by our Heavenly Father and to humble us to recognize where true strength comes from.

Hope you all have a great week and that all you who are finishing up school can Endure to the End!

Les amo,
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, May 10, 2010

I'm staying in Santa Teresita as a trainer, Ay yi yi!

Me quedo en Santa Teresita... ¡Entrenando! Ay ay ay

Dear family and friends,

Hope you all had a great week, and a happy mother´s day! It was great hearing your voices, being able to talk for a bit, and hear how you all are doing! I enjoyed seeing Becca´s painting, honestly it blew me away and I had to show my "companion" who couldn´t believe it either! She definitely has a talent for art! Keep it up!
I´m feeling a bit under pressure right now recieving the transfer call this weekend that I would be staying here in Santa Teresita and training a new missionary. To add to that, this is what Pres. Asay had to say...

"This is an incredibly important time for the branch. The branch president is at the point of asking to be released, in fact has asked. That is totally confidential, so don't tell anyone, although many probably know. But you can do a lot to keep him going. And to make him feel loved. The Lord is not going to let that branch fail, but it is going to pass through some trials, so I expect to see tremendous results from you and your new companion."

I had heard several things about possibly seeing some changes in the branch presidency here, to add to that we had the whole District Presidency in our Church meetings this weekend. Our branch president, Pres. Monsalves, is a great man and from what I have seen has gone through a lot in this branch, including recently having a big fight with his father in law (our ex-ward mission leader). Having only been a member for less than 5 years, it´s really a testimony of how the Lord strengthens those he calls beyond their own abilities. I will try to make a special effort to look for any thing my companion and I can do to strengthen and support him. I´m excited and nervous for this opportunity to train, I feel like I will be learning a LOT more than I´ll be able to teach. Sitting in Sacrament meeting I had lots of ideas come to mind to help in the work which was very comforting, and hopefully this "vision of success" can become a reality through faith and diligent work. I had the words of the Primary song "if the Savior stood beside me" going through my mind and I think I will make that my new missionary motto which goes along with my mission scripture perfectly! Now more than ever I can recognize my reliance on Him and I know that the Lord will always keep his promises.

Today I am staying in San Clemente yet again with Elder Ponce waiting to take the 5 hour bus ride to the mission home to recieve my new companion when he comes tomorrow. All the trainers will have a meeting with President Asay that morning (hopefully that will resolve some of my concerns/worries) then we eat lunch with all the new missionaries followed by a meeting where President announces the asignaciones. I am also very excited to see one of my brothers from the MTC Elder McClurg who is coming down to Argentina this transfer after having spent 6 months serving in the Provo Utah mission due to health problems! I may possibly have the opportunity to write home again Wednesday with my new companion to tell you who he is, or if not, next Monday for sure.

This last week was a tough one and we didn´t get a lot of the things that I would have liked to do done. :S To add to that I think Elder Adair was pretty bitter after we recieved the transfer call because the last 2 transfers he has been pretty preoccupied with why he hasn´t trained or been a district leader when he has 18+ months in the mission. He hardly talked to me Saturday night and Sunday as he was packing his stuff, which was pretty sad. He is a great missionary and I have learned a lot from him in the time we had together. I wrote him a short note but of course blew it and forgot to give it to him before he got on the bus (funny, same thing happened when I got dropped of at the MTC), so I´ll have to put it in the mail when I go to the offices tomorrow. I hope he doesn´t get too discouraged and "trunky" and finishes his mission doing what he´s supposed to do.

Thank you all for your support and encouragement! I always look forward to hearing how you are doing. Anyways, Hasta Luego!

¡Les amo!
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, May 3, 2010

Hello family and friends!

Another week of nicer weather, but right now it´s a bit overcast. I imagine you all are enjoying some nice warmer weather by now, wow I can´t believe it´s May! As far as calling home for Mothers day I think I will most likely be calling home Saturday night around 7 or 8 our time. Hope that works for you! If we´re lucky I might even have some Transfer news for you since transfers are next week!

We had our zone activity today here in Pinamar. Had to wake up at 530 this morning to take a 2 hour bus ride to get here. Had a fantastic barbeque and we´ve been playing frisbee/volleyball on the beach all day. Very nice city, actually a lot like the US, there´s even a mcdonalds (I think its the only one in our Zone). Once again I managed to injure my foot just in time for beach day. This time I stepped on a glass bottle that I didn´t see walking on the way to the church and it went right through my flip flop. Luckily nothing too serious and once I got the piece of glass out of my foot it didn´t hurt at all!

This week we did a lot of contacts as we still don´t have many people we are teaching. There were actually quite a bit of people here during the weekend because Saturday was a holiday Dia de trabajadores (Labor day?) Lots of people were home partying with their families... and basically none of them wanted to talk to us. :( We did have some success Sunday night doing divisions when my companion went with an Hermano in our ward and found a family of 3. I went with another Hermano in our ward to visit some investigators we have in Las Toninas (José and Cristina) and it was nice "being in control" of the lesson. We watched a video about Pres. Monson and talked about the importance of prophets. They are members of the Universal Church, the husband is very receptive and the wife is a little harder, but they are great people and seem to be progressing really well.

Enjoyed a great Fast Sunday yesterday. Almost everyone in the branch gets up to bear their testimony, it´s GREAT! We didn´t have any investigators in church again this Sunday. José had to go to Buenos Aires for ANOTHER doctors visit this weekend, so we got to enjoy going to Sunday school again and learning about the Old Testament! In Priesthood we had a great lesson about Family Home Evening which made me think about how lucky I am to come from a family where we had FHE every week. I never really had a great attitude about it then, but looking back now I have realized what a blessing it was and how important it is to have that time together as a family.

Anyways, that´s all for this week.

¡Les amo!

Elder Ian Wheelhouse