Monday, August 30, 2010

O Family Where Art Thou? (Our e-mail to him was late)

Dear Family and Friends,

First of all I want to apologize for any confusion caused by this email for possible missing letters... the keyboard I am using doesn’t seem to pick up everything I type. Hope you are all enjoying your first week back at school, etc. I assume all is well but I guess I will just have to wait for that reaffirmation. Overall we have had a great week here in Wilde.

We have had a lot of success finding some new people to teach this week! Saturday we found a lady named Nora who Elder Alvarez first came in contact with one of his other companions knocking doors. In the last year she has lost her husband and a sister in law to cancer, and seems to be handling it all really well. Saturday apparently was a particularly hard day for her but she said for some reason she felt inspired to let us in to her house. She seemed very grateful for our visit, even just having someone to talk to, but also was very interested in what we told her about the Book of Mormon and the promise that she can find many answers to the questions she has. She was also very excited to learn how to pray and gave a very sincere prayer at the end of our visit expressing gratitude for our visit and promised to follow in this path that has been laid before her.

Yesterday we found the friend of a member, Hna Sanchez y her daughters, who has been going to church the last several weeks but we have never been able to find them at home. Her name is Melany and she is 12 years old. She already has desires to be baptized and Hna Sanchez has already talked to and gotten permission from her parents. She also has 8 brothers and sisters (5 girls 3 boys). Apparently her dad is really into drugs, etc. and hasnt been doing good lately. Very sad to see some of the family situations here, it has really been an eye opener and I now understand why missionaries are asked to prepare and be healthy EMOTIONALLY in addition to Physically and Spiritually. I am confident the Lord gives us the additional strength we need to continue day to day.

Church yesterday was fantastic as well. We had a great Ward Counsel Meeting in the morning and it was truly amazing to see the love and dedication that the leaders here, especially the bishop, have for the work. He committed to pass by every single one of the people we had mentioned on the record we filled out in the next 3 weeks. In the classes/sacrament meeting we had some great messages about the importance of sustaining our leaders (in preparation for Stake Conference next week.) The Bishop compared our leaders who are called to someone running a race. The Lord has called them to be in that race, and we can’t replace them to run for them. What we can do is be there to encourage/give water/etc. to them all along the way. He also shared the example of Moses leading the children of Israel having to raise his arms up and used me to illustrate the example having me stand in front of everybody and hold my arms up for what seemed like forever before having several Hermanos come and support my arms. Another Hno also made some great comments of the importance of conferences. He brought up the point that a lot of times we hear about the same old things that we are already doing... but that we can always improve and that we should use those moments to reflect on the blessings we have received through obedience to that principle which brings greater strength of testimony. Fantastic Ward!

Hope you all have a great week, that all is well and that you haven’t forgotten me already!

les amo

Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, August 23, 2010

¡Yo amo a Wilde! [I love Wilde!]

Dear Family and Friends,

A fantastic first full week here in Wilde! The weather has been beautiful and Elder Alvarez and I have been working hard trying to find more people to teach. We have very few people that we are actually teaching, so we have been doing a lot of contacts and as of now haven’t had much success with the people actually being there when they say they will. The people we are teaching are FANTASTIC and we have had several investigators in church the last couple weeks!

I was surprised when I got to the area that most of the investigators we have here are little kids from part member families. Fabian (10) y Agustina (9) are the 2 oldest children of a less active member who the missionaries have been teaching for quite a while. Last week we passed by their house early in the morning to go with them to church which was their first time going in several years! Then yesterday I cant even explain how happy I was to see that they all showed up all on their own! :) This week we set a date with them for their baptism and they are very excited to be baptised on September 4th. (We may have to move the date to either this Saturday or September 11 because we just found out we have Stake Conference that week). We always have a fun time teaching them w/games y activities to help them understand better!

The ward here is great! Yesterday we had a Ward Conference, lots of great messages! The focus of the meeting was about having more unity, something that is a big problem in the church here and I imagine in most parts of the world. There were some great scriptures shared. The bishop shared his dream of filling the chapel and the overflow with people and testified that we can only have that kind of success if we unify ourselves as families and as a ward. A couple things I love about this ward... there are a lot of younger families, which = an awesome primary! Having a lot of youth just adds energy to the whole ward and its something a lot of wards and branches here lack! Also, we have a Ward Choir with 20 people or so that participate! Can you imagine if a 4th of the congregation participated in choir in the Timpview 6th ward? They sang at Ward Conference and actually sounded REALLY GOOD! Wish our Domingos werent so busy so we could participate!

Monday we have a family home evening with a family in our ward with several other families that come as well as any investigators we want to bring. Last week we had a great lesson given by an RM who served in Mendoza who also talked about Unity and related it to the Human body how all the parts need to work together even though some may do more than others, they are all important. We also made a big mess of the house playing with Newtonian Jelly? and finished off the night with home made empanadas! :) Looking forward to tonight!

In Pres. Stapleys emails to all the missionaries lately he has been writing a short little message. Ever since he has been here he has really been stressing the importance of "the doctrine of Christ" as taught in 2 Ne 31. Todays message was about the importance of speaking by the tongues of angels:

"The Doctrine of Christ teaches us that after baptism we can speak with the tongue of angels. I believe that missionaries have a special dispensation that requires them to speak with the tongue of angels. You may remember that Alma the younger was called to repentance by an angel?. Later in his ministry when he was rejected by the people of Ammoniah an angel appeared to him and said (see Alma Chapter 8):

Blessed art though, Alma; therefore lift up thy head and rejoice, for thou hast great cause to rejoice; for thou hast been faithful in keeping the commandments of God from the time which thou receivedst thy first message from him. Behold I am he that delivered it unto you.

This angel was the same angel that called Alma to repentance. He was then ever present to help Alma in his time of need. It was as though the Angel was always watching over him. If we are worthy we have angels that watch over each of us individually. Also, not only can we as missionaries speak with the tongue of angels, we can also be angels to preach to and care for those who live in our mission. I hope each of us can be diligent in fulfilling this sacred responsibility."

I hope we can all be worthy and seek for the company of angels as we strive to have more unity in our families and in the church!

les amo!
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, August 16, 2010

¡Sorpresa! [Surprise!]

Dear Family and Friends

Looks like we have arrived to the final week of summer vacation! Hope you all have enjoyed the warm weather... I am looking forward to some warmer temperatures coming up soon hopefully. It has been an interesting week! I know your all anxious about the surprise but you are just going to have to wait. :)

Elder "Gundy" and I started off the week fantastic and are working hard to meet some high goals that we set. One morning doing contacts we clapped a house that my companion convinced belonged to a drug dealer... when a nice old lady (Ines) answered the door and warmly greeted us "ELDERES!". Thinking we had tracted our way into another inactive member we were a little taken aback but she went on to tell us that it had been 10 years since she had talked with the missionaries and that she always wondered when we would show up at her house again. She told us that she had never gotten baptized (her daughter was) because her husband didnt want her to and that he had passed away several years ago. She was very excited to see us and we set another cita for the next day to meet with her and had a great lesson talking about the Book of Mormon. She has quite a collection of church books and LOVES the hymns. (She actually sang one to us at the door when we first found her). Very neat lady and she seemed very excited to come back to church!

Hump day was fantastic. We had a great morning doing some more contacts as well as the cita with Ines, and in the afternoon we had a Joven in our ward named Martin come with us to several citas. He has his mission call and leaves for Chihuahua Mexico in November... CAPO! We had a good lesson with an "eternal investigator" that the missionaries have been teaching for a long time, then he had to leave to go to school. That evening a member invited us over and made a cake for us for Hump Day and we played a card game with them. We got back to the pension and planned. Talked with the other Elders a bit and got all ready for bed. Around 10:20 we got a call from Pres. Stapley... SURPRISE! He said he needed to do an emergency transfer that affected us and informed me that I would be transfered to Wilde in Avellaneda to be with an Elder Alvarez who has 3 months in the mission. Apparently his companion has had some problems with his knee... but since then I have heard they hadnt gotten along well with each other. Anyways, I spent a good part of the night packing and got very little sleep before we had to be in Banfield to make the change at 10 the next morning. It is hard enough leaving an area for a normal transfer when you have time to say goodbye to people, take pictures, exchange information, etc. but I didnt get to do ANY of that and admittedly I was a pretty sad/frustrated with the change.

So now I am here in Wilde... and I actually like it a lot! My companion is awesome. He is from Neuquen Argentina (down south in the Patagonia). He is the only member in his family, but since he has been in the mission his parents have started going to church. He was baptized 8 years ago when he was 12 years old and I guess has been really active ever since! I am learning a ton about the culture from him and all kinds of nifty new words. :) Our area is FANTASTIC. The members here are great and our lunch citas every day are fantastic. Everyone has been really suprised about the chance but they have been very welcoming. In church this Sunday I got the good old welcome to the ward/bear your testimony deal! We had 5 investigators in church... and should be baptizing 2 of them in the next couple weeks! We are very close to Capital Federal so our area is in the Big City. Today for Pday we played some soccer then went to a NICE mall close to our area to eat lunch. It seems to be a nicer area and for the most part very clean... but we still have some CRAZY villa to keep things interesting. My only complaint is not having hot water to shower the last 2 days... brrrr.

Anyways, short on time again.... enjoy your last week of summer vacation and hope to hear from you all soon!

les amo,
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, August 9, 2010

¡1 AÑO YA! [One Year Already!]

Dear family and friends,

Good to hear from you this week Mom and Kristine! Exciting news hearing about my new cousin Marissa! ... would love to see some pictures! :) I´m sure it was nice being able to get away to be able to help and spend some time with family. Tell everyone hello for me! The lightning storms also sound like fun, I saw some pretty spectacular ones in the Coast.

It´s hard to believe a year ago today we were all together preparing my stuff to leave... and on Thursday it will have been exactly 1 year from the MTC curbside drop-off! The time is truly flying and I´m trying to make the most of every minute I have left! This past week I have been able to spend some time looking over my goals and revising/setting new ones. It´s always hard to recognize the change that happens in oneself, but I can definitely say I have had experiences and learned lessons that I will treasure for the rest of my life! Hopefully between my journal and pictures I can have some good recuerdos of life in the mission. There´s certaintly nothing else like it.

This week was full of some success and some disappointments. (what week isn´t?) We lost a couple really good investigators this week, one is going back to Paraguay to take care of her sister, and another basically confessed her love for my companion and... we´ll leave it at that. On the bright side of things we found some great people this week and are having to have a schedule full of citas!

Our first Zone Meeting for this transfer on Thursday went really well and we focused on 4 principles that Pres. Stapley has promised that in turn will help us be more successful missonaries. Understanding the Doctrine of Christ (see 2 Ne. 31), Charity, Obedience, Following and working with the Holy Ghost. The focus of this week was Charity. Loving others as Christ loves them is critical for us as missionaries, but is also a commandment for all of us as members of the church. Moroni 7:43-48 teaches us some great lessons about Charity. Charity, is the greatest of all the spiritual gifts given by our Heavenly Father, and Moroni invites us to ask Him for more charity with all the energy of our souls. Our Branch Pres. in the MTC always talked to us of the importance to pray for Charity every day. There are also great blessings promised to those who develop this gift of Charity and all of us will always have space to improve.

Spent the morning doing some much needed cleaning. I think I swept up a whole kilo of dirt throughout the whole pension. It will be nice to enjoy the cleanliness for a bit, but I don´t imagine it will last too long. Highlight of today: Elder Gundestrup and I made a trip to a store called Makro in our area about 10 blocks from where we live. It´s basically just like Costco, a wholesale type store, a little smaller, with a lot less selection, and of course spanish music playing throughout the store. A member in our ward let us borrow her membership card and I found a couple "treasures" that made it worth the trip. (including 100% juice of Orange and Grapefruit, Big box of TRIX).

Anyways, looks like I´m out of time once again and my stomache is telling me I´m running a bit behind on getting some lunch. Looking forward to hearing from you all next week! Be careful and enjoy your last couple weeks of summer!

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, August 2, 2010

No hay ningun cambio [No changes]

Queridos amigos,

Somehow another transfer has passed me by and it looks like Elder Gundestrup and I will stay together another transfer here in Parque Barón. I think he is a little frustrated to be staying in the zone another transfer seeing as he has been here since January. At least it should be fun to be able to celebrate our "hump day" together next Thursday.

Today we had a great transfer meeting here in Banfield and as always it´s fun to see old companions and friends I´ve made in the mission. Elder Day came up from the coast to receive a greenie and will be spending the evening working with us in our area. I always love hearing the testimonies of the Elders that are going home, and this time around 2 of the Elders that were Zone leaders when I was in the coast are headed home. Filling all the tables upstairs at Burger King with over 100 missionaries is another highlight of transfer meetings.

This week we found a great couple that we had done a contact with the wife several weeks ago. We were working in the area near their house and felt that we should pass by and see if they were home. The husband (Santos) who we hadn´t talked to before answered the door and seemed really confused when we asked if Maria was home. He asked us what we wanted and when we told him that we were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ his attitude completely changed and to our surprise invited us into their house. He told us they never let any one into their house and that they had spoken to people from all different churches before, but that they had seen us around before and always wanted to know what we believed in. We had a great chat with them and they had some really good questions. They seemed really excited about the Book of Mormon and we left a chapter for them to read that hopefully they will be able to find the answers to a lot of the questions they have.

I was able to finish the Book of Mormon again this week and it was amazing as I read it this time to focus in the things that it teaches us about Jesus Christ, and especially the Atonement. I am convinced there is no better way to get to know Him better than by reading His words and following His example.

Hope you all have a great week and enjoy your last couple weeks of summer! (I can´t believe it´s over already, seems like just yesterday I was hearing about Kristens graduation)

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse