Monday, October 25, 2010

Elder Alvarez again!

Dear family and friends,

Wow what a week! We have had beautiful weather lately but it has been a little bit cooler the last couple days. I guess I just need to enjoy it while I can before the overwhelming heat comes. Amazingly we havent seen too many mosquitos yet either! This week school was cancelled several times for all the kids here for who knows what reason. I honestly dont know how the kids even learn here with how often they have vacations. Aparently this Wednesday is the national census which should be interesting. We have to stay in our pension until they come to our house, and then after that we can leave but it is a law that we aren’t allowed to knock doors... so not quite sure what we will do!

This week I received my new companion... another Elder Alvarez from Santa Fe, Santa Fe, Argentina! Elder Alvarez said his final goodbyes the first part of this week y Wednesday I was left with Elder Nalder in Quilmes who was also waiting for his new companion to get here the next day. As tradition goes... all the missionaries in the mission went to Burger King after transfer meeting and I enjoyed a tasty meal (only thing I ate all day). We spent the evening working in Quilmes y apparently the Burger King didn’t sit well in my stomach and I started to feel really sick. We had just finished teaching a lesson to some of their investigators who got baptized this Saturday and were about to leave when I started to feel really sick and ended up throwing up several times. Talk about embarassing!!! Luckily they had a cement floor... They were very nice about it and took good care of me. I felt much better afterwards but we still ended up heading back to the pension which was a good thing because I was up sick most of the night.

The next day wasn’t much better. I was at least done with the throwing up part... but I still didn’t feel good, hadn’t gotten much sleep, and had nothing in my stomache and no desires to eat anything. I decided I felt good enough to go to a cita that morning with the people who were going to get baptized at the church to make sure they had clothes for everyone... and I made it through that OK. We went back to the pension and I rested for a min, drank a bit of Sprite and ate some crackers before it was time for us to leave for Banfield to pick up our new companions. We got to the train station to find that the trains weren’t running because someone was killed in a protest in Avellaneda... so luckily I knew how to get there in buses.

Our first bus ride was very packed (had to stand the whole trip)... and very warm. Bad conditions for someone feeling like I did. I was praying the whole time that my life wouldn’t end on a bus in Argentina. I started feeling really weird several blocks from where we needed to get off and everything went white and I couldnt see or hear anything. I knew the stop was coming up soon and somehow I was able to make my way to the door and push the button just in time. I stumbled off the bus and found somewhere to sit down and drank the rest of my sprite. Luckily the 2nd looong bus ride I was able to sit next to an open window. We got to the station in Lanus and found out the trains werent running there either... so we ended up taking a short taxi ride and we made it to the church in Banfield just in time. We had a little meeting with all the trainers and of course they asked me to lead the music. Finally we went to the mission home and met up with the group of new missionaries. We all sang Llamados a Servir walking into the mission home which was kind of cool. Pres. assigned us our companions and we all went outside to take pictures. I was very blessed to have the strength y energy to help my companion with his luggage on the trip home despite a train mix-up and 8 block walk from the train station to our pension.

Things have been going really well with Elder Alvarez. Its a huge boost being with someone straight out of the MTC who is super excited about the work and has all kinds of great ideas. He speaks really really fast which makes it hard to understand sometimes... but we get along really well! Everyone in the ward thought it was pretty funny that I was still with "Elder Alvarez" and that he had grown a little bit since the last time they saw him. Ever since he got here we have had some great success doing contacs and have really been guided to the people who would actually give us the time of day and listen to us! I am learning a lot and of course feel a bit inadequate on my own but I am trying my best and learning a great lesson on relying on the Lord and qualifying/seeking his help. Hope to have a very successful transfer!

Hope you are all doing well and have a great week and a HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Thursday, October 21, 2010

¡Me quedo en Wilde! I'm staying in Wilde

Dear family and friends,

OK so I am in a bit of a hurry as always... but as you all know today was transfer meeting so here is whats new. This transfer I will be staying in Wilde training a new missionary again! Very excited for the great opportunity. Originally Pres. Stapley called me to be a district leader as well but called me yesterday to let me know there had been a mistake and that he wouldn't need me for this transfer, but next transfer for sure. Not a big deal, actually a bit of a relief. :) Elder Hinton my MTC comp moved up this transfer as Zone Leader in Banfield... what a stud. Elder McClurg and Elder Henrie from my MTC group are also training this transfer which will be fun. Elder Alvarez was sad to leave the area, but is headed to Glew in Longchamps and will be companions with one of his buddies from the MTC. Also this transfer two of my companions went home. Elder Gonzalez y Elder Adair. I was with both of them in the Coast. Both gave great testimonies in the transfer meeting. (see fotos de la semana)

Highlight of this last week was for sure the Baptism of Sofia y Tomas this Saturday. As always, there were a couple last minute complications. The baptism was supposed to start at 4 pm, and the majority of the people didnt show up until 430. We ended up waiting an additional hour + for Tomas who was supposed to get baptised to arrive with his Dad. My comp and I were left to stall for time and we showed the Restoration video and shared our testimonies (quite a few family members, etc. came who arent members of the church). Around 6 we were told to go ahead and start with out them. About 20 min after baptizing Sofia, Tomas showed up with his dad, so we went ahead and baptized him as well. The service went really well and the kids uncle baptized both of them. Because Tomas is 8, we were able to comfirm him right there and he asked me to do it which was pretty cool. :) With all the craziness we werent able to get a lot of pictures before the baptism unfortunately... but afterwards we had some great cake and were able to take some pictures.

Anyways, thats all for this week! Hope you all enjoyed Argentine Mothers day this last Sunday! Super jealous listening to my comp talk to his family! Happy Birthday to Trevor tomorrow. Cant wait to hear from you all next week!

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, October 11, 2010

Allergies :(

Dear family and friends,

The spring here is beautiful... nice weather, beautiful flowers, fresh air... all until the pollen gets in the air and allergies smack you in the face! Not feeling good at all and it´s been a rough couple days! Aside from feeling terrible physically... everything else is going pretty well here in Wilde! Just a heads up before I forget... I won´t have another pday until Wednesday, so when you don´t hear from me next Monday don´t be suprised! I don´t know exactly why but they moved transfers ahead 5 days. Rumor has it that Elder Andersen may be coming to visit the mission...

Just got done with a great zone activity. Cooked a tasty Asado and watched Meet the Robinsons. Luckily I had a bit of time to practice the song I will be playing next week in Sacrament meeting for several Hermanas in our Ward to sing. Coming along nicely... but I still need to learn MY part! Always fun to get together with the other missionaries and get to know them better.

This week I finally had my first interview with President Stapley (I think I was the very last missionary in the mission to get an interview with him.) It went really well! For our first interview he just spent some time getting to know me. He was pretty excited to hear that in our family we have 5 boys and 3 girls... same as his family. It was fun getting to know him and I could feel the love that he has for each of the missionaries in this mission. Very grateful to be able to serve with him and learn from him. I think he will have great success in his time here and has already made some big improvements to the mission!

It has been a good week here in Wilde. Elder Alvarez is basically a stud. We have gotten to the point in our time together where we start to find little things that annoy us... but we have been able to talk things out and resolve problems that would keep us from having unity as a companionship! Not sure what is going to happen for this next transfer... He has almost 6 months here in the area so chances are pretty good that he will be going to a new area and I will be recieving a new comp... Exciting news to look forward to for next week, who knows I could even end up in a new area.

We had several investigators in church yesterday including Louisa. We passed by her house yesterday morning and took a taxi with her to the church. She has been looking for the "one true church" and during sacrament meeting turned to us and told us that she has found what she has been looking for. Great lady! We just have a really hard time teaching her because she LOOOVES to talk and get off topic. My comp and I are trying to figure out the best way to be able to help her learn the things she needs to learn in preperation for Baptism... but we both have faith she will make it there sooner or later! She´s already committed herself to continue going to church!

We found an awesome kid this week named Braian (14). Very intelligent kid... I think he is a bit autistic actually. Basically he reads the Bible for fun and he has a great knowledge about spiritual things. He has been going to an Evangelist church for the last several years with some other people in his neighborhood... but he loves to talk about God with people and seemed very interested in what we do as missionaries. We taught him the Restoration and shared the Book of Mormon with him and at first he was very hesitant to accept it saying that his whole life he hadn´t known anything but the Bible... But we explained to him that he could recieve an answer from God if what we shared was true which he agreed with and accepted the invitation to read it. We all knelt down together and he said the prayer at the end of the lesson and it was one of the most sincere prayers I have ever heard... obviously he spends a lot of time praying and speaking with our Heavenly Father. Said he will continue to think and pray about if this is the path that God wnats him to follow.

That´s all for this week! Time to get back to work already! Happy Argentine Mothers Day to all you Mothers this Sunday! Too bad we don´t get to make an extra call home ;) but I think my companion has gotten special permission to call home that day... Not too much longer til Christmas!

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, October 4, 2010

General Conference #3

Dear family and friends,

Another BEAUTIFUL p-day here in Wilde! Last week the nice weather didn´t last too long and had cold/rain for most of the week but cleared up nicely for Conference this weekend! Good to hear from all of you this week! Congratulations on the marathon dad! Also everyone here was pretty excited to hear that you spent some time in Spain. Our 1st counselor in our bishopric has been in Spain/Europe for the last 3 or 4 months (I still don´t even know the guy) and several people here have family that live there! Also just an FYI I did recieve the package this week with 2 pairs of garments, Peanut Butter and Rootbeer concentrate... so if that is everything you sent it all got here safely! (The package was ripped open in transit apparently and "Correo Argentina" shrink wrapped it back together)

Started off the week great last Monday with an awesome Noche de Hogar with the family Romero. Mariana gave a great lesson about facing trials with hope and keeping a positive attitude. Shared a story and bore powerful testimony about losing her first son and how she has been able to overcome the hurt that she felt through much faith and prayer.

Wednesday we set another baptismal date with the kids of a less active family member in our ward for October 16. Sofia (10) y Tom├ís (8). They are very excited to be baptized and we are hoping that their older brother can work with the bishop and prepare to do those baptisms! We also have an elderly lady we are teaching named Louisa that could be baptized in the next several weeks. She is searching for the "one true church" and wasn´t able to make it to conference this weekend in Avellaneda due to transportation issues, but is very excited to go to church next week here in Wilde!

Conference this weekend was fantastic! I don´t think I have ever enjoyed conference so much as I have here in the mission! The stake was nice enough to set up a TV in a room for the 10 of us "Yankees" so we could watch the conference in English. :) We were all talking about how when we were younger we couldn´t believe how long the conference dragged out... every talk felt like FOREVER! But here in the mission we are always left wanting MORE! There were many fantastic messages shared... a couple of my favorites were the talk by Elder Oaks about our Personal and Priesthood lines of revelation, Pres. Uchtdorfs talk about priorities, Elder Hollands talk about being Helpful, Pres. Monsons message on Gratitude, Elder Bednars talk about recieving the Holy Ghost, Elder Eyering about Trusting in God, and several talks about Agency. Very excited to be able to share some of these messages with investigators and members who for one reason or another weren´t able to make it to the conference... Of course we paid extra special attention to what was said about missionary work and especially the call to all young men to prepare for a mission. A couple of the commentaries of the other missionaries in the room... "all our moms just started crying right now" and "Wow I would sure feel bad if I was sitting at home right now". Hard to believe I will only have 1 more conference here in the mission!

After the Saturday afternoon session (here it finished at 7 pm, we don´t even get to go to the Priesthood session from 9-11) we were headed back to our area to work, and one broken down bus and a 20 block walk later we arrived to an area where several members/contacts lived. During the conference I had names of people going through my head the whole time... I wish I would have written down more of the names as I heard the messages that could be shared with them... but I had especially on my mind 2 families we had done contacts with in the past several weeks. That night we just happened to be close to one of them so we decided to pass by and to our suprise the father (Wenceslau) answered the door and invited us in. Apparentely he never lets ANYONE in his house, even his friends, but he said he knows that we walk all day long and that we were probably very thirsty (which we were) and he had us sit down and drink some water while we had a little chat. He had gone to the Mormon church when he was 17 years old and turns out his Mom was actually baptized 4 years ago. He remembers feeling really good when he went, but for one reason or another stopped going and hasn´t had any contact with the church since. He lives with his wife and kids and it´s very apparent the love he has for them and the desire he has to be the best he can for them. He has some interesting beliefs and believes strongly in San la Muerte (very creepy... grim reaper type character, how he is a Saint is WAAAY beyond my knowledge.) and has 2 giant tattoos on both of his arms. His wife showed up near the end of our visit and we were able to share a bit with them about the importance of prophets in guiding the family (very rushed on time... we got back to the pension VERY LATE) and set a cita for the next (this) week, and through in a last minute invitation for the conference tomorrow. He has some great questions and they both seem very interested in the idea of having a Prophet to guide us.

Well that´s about it for now! Headed off to Alto Avellaneda for lunch at McDonalds and shopping at Walmart. :) I´ll be practicing some piano in the next couple weeks to prepare to accompany the relief society or young women who will be singing in Sacrament meeting on October 17 for Mothers Day. Have a great week!

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse