Monday, September 27, 2010

La Hermosa Primavera

Dear family and friends,

Good to hear from you all this week! I´m not sure what happened last week but I did end up recieving the email the second time dad sent it before I got off. Still enjoying the beautiful weather here! I don´t know what it is here but I can smell the blooming flowers EVERYWHERE. Luckily my allergies haven´t gotten too bad yet so I can keep enjoying the sunshine y fresh air without having the sniffles! Yes mom the package is here... but the office Elders haven´t gone to capital to pick it up yet. :S Hope dad had a great trip to Spain and that Brian had a great 15th birthday! What´s the car situation like? :P Kristen has her car, and Kyle has MINE, then the big van... what does dad drive?

Really interesting week. ´We started off the week great with an awesome Zone Conference. Pres. Stapley is focusing a lot in the importance that obedience has in qualifying ourselves to be worthy of the guidance of the Spirit. Almost everything he teaches us revolves around the "5 values of how we work" (which he came up with in his time as CEO of ¿Deseret Mutual?) and the "5 focuses of the mission" he shared with us in his first meeting with the missionaries. I don´t know if I´ve shared them with you yet or not... but the 5 values are 1. Be Happy, 2. Have Passion, 3. Help others have success, 4. Improve Continually, and 5. Be a hard worker! The 5 focuses of the mission are 1. Preach my Gospel (the Doctrine of Christ), 2. Baptism, 3. Love, 4. Obedience, and 5. The Spirit. Great principles and counsel that have helped me a lot to not only improve myself as a missionary, but that apply to all of us and will help me through the rest of my life.

Also this week we have seen some very sad family situations. I don´t want to go into any details... but one has to do with drugs, and the other has to do with abuse and an aborted pregnancy. It´s amazing the effect that the bad choices of one person has on the rest of the family. I´ve been amazed to see the great faith and patience that both families have had in dealing with the problems and hope all turns out well with them. Not quite sure what I am supposed to learn from seeing so much suffering, but it has really given me a greater appreciation and love for my family and my Heavenly Father who has blessed me so much. It has also strengthened my testimony greatly to see the blessing that gospel knowledge has in facing situations like that, that even in the worst situations we can recieve the strength and comfort if we turn to Him.

Yesterday in Church we had a great lesson in Priesthood meeting about our responsiblities as members of the church. The teacher focused in the 3 fold mission of the church. Perfect the Saints, Redeem our Dead, Preach the Gospel, and talked about the important responsibility that each of us has to work in each of these 3 areas. During the whole lesson I was thinking a lot about our responsiblities as members of the church to be obedient, etc. and I came to the conclusion that the most important responsibility we have as members of the church is to learn to Love as God loves us. Love is the key point in the 2 commandments Jesus Christ gave as well as being an important factore of Charity... the greatest of all the gifts of God. God himself is LOVE and our whole purpose being here in the earth is to gain experience in our body to one day become even as He is. If we have true love for God and for all mankind, we will be driven by the desire to share that love with all others... through missionary work, service to members, and temple work. I think all the problems in the world could be resolved if we all just learned to love a little more!

Hope you all have a great week and take good notes in General Conference this weekend! Looking forward to hearing some of your remarks next week!

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hello Sunshine

Dear family and friends,

Good to hear from you Kristine! Maybe next week I´ll hear from the rest of you. :P Hope you all had a good week and are enjoying the fall time colors... one thing they don´t have here in Argentina! Today I finally busted out the short sleeve shirts and have been enjoying some nice sun/warmer temperatures/blossoming flowers etc. The spring here is Beautiful!

Nothing super exciting or new from me this week. We did have some success finding some new people to teach this week. Monday evening we always have a Noche de Hogar (FHE) with a family in our ward and usually being right after Pday we are always rushed for time. This Monday on our way to the Noche de Hogar my comp and I felt like we needed to pass by a contact we had done several weeks before and never been able to find. We had passed by her house several times, and always talked with her Grandma Isabel. We were very suprised to hear from her grandma that she had told her that we would be coming to her house and told her who we are and everything. Doesn´t happen too often! Her name is Yesica and she works all night on top of studying during the day and sleeping when she can, but Monday night we finally found her at home and they invited us in. She was just sitting down to eat, getting ready to go to work, but we were able to sit down and have a great chat with her and her grandma about the Book of Mormon etc. They both seemed really interesting and Isabel even went so far as to say... "my whole life I have been raised Catholic and I have a lot of faith in the Virgin Mary... but people can change". Unfortunately they weren´t there when we went back the next time (always frustrating!) so now we are praying to be able to catch them at a good moment again.

We also were able to get into the house and teach a family who we helped carry a mattress several blocks to their house last week. German y Catalina y several grandchildren who they have taken in and raised like their children because their parents apparently didn´t want them. Catalinas sister was also there visiting from Chaco, so it was nice of them to let us in to talk for a little while. They are very active in their church and have great faith in Jesus Christ and believe very strongly in the Bible. At the same time they were very open when we talked about the Book of Mormon y accepted the invitation to read and pray.

Saturday we had a Zone Activity called "Tormenta Blanca" where all the elders in our Zone go to one companionships area and do a bunch of contacts to give references to the elders in that area. This week we worked in Fabian Onsari... but we did something a little bit different. Instead of doing contacts the Ward had organized for us to pass by all the inactive members that are on the registros to see if the families still lived at the adress, if someone had passed away, etc. It was fun to work in a different area y we found some great people that for some reason or another just haven´t been to church in a while. We were told to keep things very brief.... but hopefully down the road our efforts will make a difference in helping some of those lost sheep come back to the fold. Our Stake here in Avellaneda is pushing a lot the counsel of Pres. Monson to seek out those who should be at church but aren´t. Probably one of the defining counsels that Pres. Monson has taught us. Evidence of the love that Heavenly Father has for ALL of his children.

Well that´s about it for this week! Hope you all have a great week and a Happy Birthday to Brian! Looking forward to General conference in the next couple weeks! My second to last general conference in the mission... unbelievable!

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, September 13, 2010

¡Bautismo de Fabian, Agustina y Milena!

Dear family and friends!

Good to hear from everyone this week! Sounds like things are going well at home with some exciting things happening and as always staying plenty busy all of you!

This week is transfers for us and Elder Alvarez and I will be together for another 6 weeks (assuming we´re not victims of another emergency transfer). Looking for another transfer with him and hopefully we will see some more success here in Wilde! Today we had transfer meeting which is always fantastic. Fun to see other missionaries and listen to the testimonies of the Elders who are going home as well as being able to listen to Pres. Stapley and his wife. This transfer my trainer Elder Spence goes home, very weird feeling when your companions start to go home! Amazing how time flies in the mission.

Last Monday we had a pretty cool experience. We had just finished shopping at Walmart :) and we were trying to figure out which bus to take to get back to our area. We stopped a bus that we knew passed through our area... but didn´t bother asking which direction it was going. Needless to say... it happened to be going the WRONG direction and we ended up at the train station in LanĂºs (not terribly far but we took the train to get back). However, on the bus ride... a guy came up to us and started talking to us and asking lots of questions about the church. He said he has been looking for some guidance in his life for quite a while and knows that God is the answer but that he feels that religion is something created by man and that to find the truth one would have to ask God directly. GOLDEN! He said he had never spoken to anyone from our church before and we were able to share some things with him which he found very interesting and got his address, phone number, etc. Unfortunately he doesn´t live in our area... but looking forward to hearing from the Elders what happens. Interesting that the Lord finds ways to put people in our path even when we are on the wrong bus! ;)

Wow it has been a great week here in Wilde! We have had some rain the last couple days... but luckily Saturday was a BEAUTIFUL day perfect for the baptism of Fabian Agustina y Milena (Bro. y Sis y a cousin)! Very special day for all of us here! Obviously for the 3 of them, but also it was my companions first baptism in his mission! My first time baptizing as senior companion... and I was a little stressed out with organizing everything and remembering all the things we have to do. Baptism days are always hectic! Fabian y Agustina showed up late, the bishop ended up having to work so we had to call the first counselor to come and conduct the service, but everything turned out great! Probably the highlight of the whole service was being able to see Milenas dad baptize her! Their whole family has been inactive for quite a while, but the bishop felt that it was very important for the father to be able to do the baptism (in accordance with the cousel of Pres. Packer in the last conference? slips my mind at the moment) Very sweet moment to see them come out of the water together and hopefully it will be an experience that will help the whole family come back to church! Elder Alvarez baptized Fabian y Agustina asked me to baptize her! I also had my first chance to confirm both Milena and Agustina in Sacrament meeting on Sunday which was a cool experience! Always amazing to feel a little bit of the love that our Heavenly Father has for all of his children.

Hope you all have a great week!

les amo

Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, September 6, 2010

"Out Came the Sun and Dried Up all the Rain..."

Dear family and friends,

Sounds like you all enjoyed your Labor day and hopefully some nice weather! A very wet week here in Wilde! Cold, rainy, and windy for 3 or 4 days straight! Not a whole lot of success working in the rain... very few people who even answered their doors, but it was worth it just to know that we were doing what we were supposed to! Supposedly this was the storm that changes the seasons... and we have been enjoying some BEAUTIFUL spring weather these last 2 days. Hopefully it stays nice for a couple weeks before it gets too hot!

Started off the week GREAT finding an awesome new investigator who was a reference from a member in our ward who is VERY missionary oriented! Her name is Sandra and she had been looking for a church to go to these last several weeks when she came in contact with the Hermana. She has been having a lot of problems with the guy she is living with and wants out of the relationship... very common situation here. She has great desires to do what is right but feels she is unworthy to pray. We will keep working with her on that, but is really excited to come to church and to read the Book of Mormon.

Another investigator we are teaching who also happens to be a reference from a member (Melany) is already excited to be baptized. We had a great lesson with her this week talking about the Restoration. We played a little game before starting the lesson to see who would say the opening prayer and she was chosen 3 times in a row... she said she didn’t want to do it and that she didn’t feel comfortable yet, so Hermana Sanchez ended up saying it. At the end of the lesson to everyone’s surprise she asked if she could say the closing prayer! We all knelt down together and she gave one of the best prayers I have ever heard! Very thoughtful and sincere... probably one of my favorite things in the mission, hearing investigators pray out loud for the first time. Very cool to see how the Spirit was able to touch her in such a way that she felt the desire to pray, much better situation than being obligated to pray from a silly game.

Yesterday we had Stake Conference. We left early in the morning to pick up some investigators (the family of Fabian y Agustina) and were surprised that their grandma decided at the last minute to come with us as well! (She is a member but hasn’t been to church in several months.) The messages that were shared I think were especially meaningful for her. Almost all the speakers spoke about the importance of families in the gospel. Elder Foster from the Quorum of the 70 and Area Presidency of the South America South area presided y him and his wife both spoke. For only being in Argentina for 4 weeks they spoke really good Spanish with very little help from the translator. He talked a lot about the importance of the youth of the church and how Satan is trying to win them over at all cost. He talked about the important role parents have in the gospel to teach their children about true principles so that they truly UNDERSTAND.

Yesterday we also had a very interesting experience. During the week we did a contact with a guy named Juan who seemed to have lots of interest in the church... had lots of good questions about the church from things he had heard from other people. He asked if we could pass by Sunday at 2 (very difficult time because we had stake conference that day and our lunch citas usually take FOREVER) but we agreed to the cita. SOMEHOW we were actually able to make it right on time after waiting 30 min for a bus after Stake Conference y having our lunch cita cancel on us... leaving us on our own to throw something together for lunch. We basically ran the 15-20 blocks to his house. He told us he had 45 min and we took extra care to be very respectful of his time limitation. Our lesson couldn’t have gone more perfectly... I felt the Spirit was really guiding us in what we should say and we were teaching together really well. We were able to help him answer his own questions and doubts. At the end of the lesson we offered to leave him the Book of Mormon y invited him to read and pray about it to know if it is true, and to our surprise he turned it down. When we asked if we could say a prayer before we left... he also said no. We left the cita a little confused and talked a lot about how the lesson went. We both felt that we did all that we could and that he just wasn’t prepared at this time to receive the truth. Agency is a great gift that God has given ... but very frustrating sometimes! I can’t even imagine how our Heavenly Father feels to see the choices we make sometimes.

Anyways, that’s all for this week! Looking forward to hearing from you again soon! Amazing how the times flies! Thank you so much for your prayers!

les amo

Elder Ian Wheelhouse