Monday, November 29, 2010

Diciembre ya! [December already!]

¡Buen dia!

Good to hear from you all! Hope you all enjoyed a fantastic week and a nice break from school. I am a bit jealous of the snow as we have been having some HOT weather lately. At least it makes the cold showers every morning not seem so bad! I am still suffering a bit from this awful cold! I finally gave in to my companion and all the members that kept telling me I needed to see the doctor or go to the hospital (people go to the hospital for EVERYTHING here, it is quite funny) so I called up the mission doctor and told him my symptoms. He basically told me if I dont have a fever then it is just allergies... so he just recommended some medicine for allegies y left it at that. Looks like I just gotta tough it out!

Tuesday morning we found an awesome new investigator named Alba while we were doing contacts. She answered in the window shaking her finger at us like she didnt want anything to do with us... and I felt that I should just ask her "why not?" She went on to explain to us that the missionaries had passed by her house several times in the past and always invited her to church, etc. and that she felt bad because she never did what they invited her to. We asked if we could come in and share a message with her and she accepted. She said she had never let the missionaries in before. As we started to talk about the Book of Mormon... she told us she already HAD a book like that, and went and pulled a Triple of her book shelf that she said she recovered from the street after some missionaries had gotten robbed y that she never had the chance to give it back to them. Apparently her sister is going in for cancer treatment this week y she was really preoccupied thinking about her. We taught her about prayer y the blessings that come from talking out our worries/desires with our Heavenly Father y she gave a great prayer at the end of the lesson!

Wednesday we had our interviews with Pres. Stapley. Our district was the first up for interviews and while we were waiting we all enjoyed eating some tasty facturas y chocolate-covered, dulce-de-leche-filled CHURROS while talking with Hna. Stapley. She has learned spanish super fast y is always studying y learning new words/expressions. She already speaks portuguese... and as we talked she was making a list of all the words that trip her up because of their similarities to portuguese. My interview with President went really well. He shared a scripture in Jacob 1:19 that talks about the responsibility that Jacob felt as a prophet to teach the people.. to the point that if he didnt do his job well that he felt accountable for the sins of his people. He also talked about preparing NOW to report my mission when I finish y to make the most of the time I have left. He asked what the most important thing I have learned in the mission is which I quickly responded was OBEDIENCE. Looking back now, it is definitely a principle I wish I would have understood better before the mission. The Lord is always willing to strengthen and bless us and only asks for us to be obedient in return. Lots of great examples of obedience in the scriptures!

Sounds like you all enjoyed a great Thanksgiving! I cant say we did much to celebrate here... however on Saturday we enjoyed a great lunch with Soledad y her family. We had pollo al horno (baked chicken) y a variety of salads with peaches for desert. Besides the FANTASTIC food it was great to be there with all the family including her husband y her sister y several of her neices who were visiting from Capital. After the meal we read "the family proclamation" with them which they all agreed was a perfect explanation of how a family should work. It has been a WHILE since I have read it, but I am always amazed how inspired Pres. Hinckley y the other apostles and prophets were in writing this declaration to the world over 15 years ago!

Well everyone thats it for now! Hope you all have a great week back in school! I have got a 3 day training with Pres. Stapley for all the leaders in the mission Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday... so hopefully my comp will have a good experience running the area all on his own for a couple days! Looking forward to hearing from you all next week!

les amo!
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, November 22, 2010

Feliz dia de Gracias!

Hola familia!

Wow another week gone by here in Wilde. We have had some HOT weather lately, but are enjoying a bit of a rainstorm right now to hopefully cool things down a bit. I am still sick with this terrible cough and cold... and my companion and I are convinced it is because of our pension. (We have a lot of humidity in the walls and there is a lot of mold) On top of that we´ve been taking cold showers for the last 2 weeks now (which I have actually gotten used to and learned to enjoy even, especially with the hotter weather.) We are trying to get these problems along with a handfull of others worked out with the landlords and the mission office. Just frustrating that the landlords have known about the problem with the humidity in the walls for several months and havent done anything....

We enjoyed a great primary program yesterday. Had several problems with the microphones, but they were able to work things out. A lot of the kids were very shy... and some of them didnt even get up to the microphone to say their part. Doesn´t help that the members would laugh histarically every time someone messed up, but that´s just kind of how the culture here is. A couple kids that caught my attention... one kid who had problems with the microphone y ended up saying his part 3 times before it finally caught in the microphone. Another girl who had obviously worked hard to memorize her part and messed up y got very embarassed. But started over and finished great! Also our investigators son did great on his part and his mom seemed to enjoy the whole program. Our bishop gave some great comments at the end and asked for all of us to stand up who had been in the same situation, giving a part in the primary program. Proud to be one of the few that stood up! He pointed out that even with all the nervousness and mistakes and funny things that happened it is the fulfillment of a scripture in the bible that talks about how in the last days children shall prophecy. (not sure on the wording in English...) I of course loved the whole program and enjoyed listening to music and singing a long quietly to some of the songs.

This week we also said good bye to Carmen, the lady we gave a blessing to several weeks ago. Now that she is feeling better she felt that she needed to go back to the place she calls home in Jujuy, Argentina to be with her children that live out there. We have had some great talks with her and she asked us to please send the missionaries to her at her house in Jujuy!
Wednesday we were able to help a member David with a pretty "crappy" project. Basically we dug a hole y built a brick box so they have access to thier sewage pipe that runs to sewage system under the street. Needless to say... a pretty smelly dirty job. It was nice to be able to help him out a bit since it was something he wasn´t able to do for himself with a broken arm. He has struggled with addiction to drugs for over half his life and is making great progress recently. He has a wife and 2 kids who have obviously suffered a lot. He says leaving with us helps him a lot, and it helps us a lot as well making visits to our investigators!

This week we also started teaching another great family. The son Adán has a friend who was baptized recently in a different ward here in Avellaneda and he is really interested in the church! His mom and sisters also are great! He came to play soccer with us Thurday night (we had 10 investigators come play with us!) y is excited to come to church with us in the near future. The several times we have passed by they have kept their commitments to read y pray and always have great questions!
Anyways, thats all for this week. Hope you all have a great thanksgiving!

les amo!
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, November 15, 2010

FW: ¡Feliz Dia de los Abuelos! [Happy Grandparents Day!]

Dear family and friends,

Another rainy Pday here in Wilde! Good to hear from all of you this week! Sounds like you are enjoying some nice wintery weather! Hope you all enjoyed a Happy Grandparents day on Sunday! I am sure I missed a fantastic primary program, we will also be having our Primary Program this coming Sunday. The ward has been great in making sure all the kids have a part... even one of our investigators children will be participating which is AWESOME! Overall we have had a very successful week!

This week we had the opportunity to do 2 "intercambios" with our leaders. On Tuesday night my companion went to Quilmes III to spend the day with our district leader, and his companion Elder Britez came to Wilde to spend the day with me! He is an awesome Elder! He is from Paraguay and has the same time in the mission as my companion. Living near the border of Paraguay and Brazil he was raised tri-lingual... Guarani, Spanish, and Portuguese. Several of the people we visited that afternoon were also from Paraguay and I felt like I was the new missionary as they talked in Guarani and I just sat with a confused smile on my face. Very happy, friendly guy and all the people we visited really liked him.

The second intercambio we did was with our zone leaders who called us Friday morning during weekly planning and asked if we could meet up in Avellaneda train station in 3 hours to change companions... Once again my companion ended up leaving to go to Avellaneda I for the day with Elder Patiño from Peru, and I stayed in Wilde with Elder Bushman from Spanish Fork, Utah! Needless to say it was a nice break to be able to speak a bit of english. :) Elder Bushman is in his last transfer and I learned a ton in our time together. In our intercambio we were able to visit Roberto and we had a great talk with him about Baptism. He knows he needs to get baptized and told us that he doesn´t want to get baptized right now just to get baptized and then go inactive later on down the road... but that he wants a little bit more time to be sure that it is what he wants to do. Good to know he takes it very seriously. We taught the importance of baptism, but that baptism was still just another step in the life long gospel path. Talking with Elder Bushman we decided he is very spiritually mature and that we could probably talk with him about eternal families/temples to have that goal set for further on down the road. His family still listens every once in a while, but I think it is going to come down to him setting the example for his family and later on he will be able to baptize the rest of them! After calling him Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning to remind him about church... he finally showed up and enjoyed it a lot! He was suprised by how friendly the members were with him and he said he wished he would have shown up on time. (He came half way through second hour and stayed for Sacrament meeting as well... a blessing of having Sacrament meeting the final hour I suppose :)) He joked with us when we met him outside the door that he completed with what he said he would do in coming to the church and that NEXT WEEK he would actually go inside. His 3 year old son came with him and although he was very shy at first, by the end he made some friends and left the church saying it was the best ever!!!

We visited the family of Soledad twice this week and had some great lessons! She is reading and praying everyday and is always happy whenever we see her. She always prays to be able to keep learning more and expresses her gratitude for the happiness it has brought in her life. We set a baptism date for her and 2 of her sons for December 18, but could be delayed due to the fact that she is not married. The 2 kids have been ready to get baptized for MONTHS now and may or may not get baptized before the mom. The 3 of them made it to church this Sunday and Lautaro (9) was very excited about his part that he will get to share in the primary program on Sunday. We have had great support from the Familia Espinola who have been able to bring them to church every week and sit with them in the meetings, as well as making extra visits during the week since they are neighbors. Still looking for an opportunity to talk with Marcos, the father of the family.

Anyways, that’s all for this week! Gotta run! Hope you all have a great week! Les amo!!!

Elder Ian Wheelhouse
PS ¿Whens Thanksgivin´?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Milagros in Wilde! [Miracles in Wilde!]

Dear family and friends,

It has been a fantastic week here in Wilde! After a hot week today is nice and cloudy with a bit of rain to cool things down! I have been a bit sick all week with a cough... but hopefully I am just about over it. Hard to believe we are already a week into November! Lots has happened this week... and I hope the stories make sense because there are so many details I want to include, but even then I know it just wont be the same as living it!

This week we had a couple really awesome experiences. Wednesday started off as a not so great day... I was sick in the morning and a member kid that was supposed to accompany us to some citas ended up not being able to go. We ate a decent lunch in the pension and I was able to take some medicine and rest for a min which helped, then it was off to work again for the afternoon. Very hot humid day. All our plans fell through and we recieved a call from a family we were supposed to have a Noche de Hogar with that night saying they would have to reschedule it for another day. We eventually ended up at the house of a member whose grand daughter is one of our investigators and had a good visit with them. As we finished up talking outside and as we were about to leave... out of nowhere it got super dark and cloudy and started raining on us. I told my comp we had 2 options... we could run back to the pension (15 blocks) to get our umbrellas/rain stuff... or we could run 5 blocks to the house of a member and visit them and hope for the rain to pass. We started heading for the pension but right then the rain started pouring hard and we decided to make the shorter trip to the members house. Apparently that morning the mom of the family (Hna Espinola) had talked with one of their neighbors whose kids Emanuel 12 y Lautaro 9 have been listening to the lessons and coming to church for several months and want to get baptized, but the parents arent sure if they want to let them get baptized y in the past havent shown much interest in coming to church y finding out WHY their kids want to get baptized. Anyways, that morning apparently Hermana Espinola had talked to the mom of the family (Soledad) and felt something was wrong and after talkin for a while Soledad asked if the hermana could say a prayer for her. Apparenlty her mother in law (Carmen) has been very sick and she was having a really hard time. After saying the prayer she felt to tell her about priesthood blessings of comfort and asked if she would like to recieve one when Hno Espinola got home later that night. She accepted and the Hermano ended up getting home earlier that night than usual because they had several cancelations of trucks they were supposed to recieve at work that day. As the Hermano got home apparently they said... "too bad the missionaries arent here right now to go over and give the blessing to Soledad". We happened to show up several minutes later thanks to the rain and we had a great lesson with the mother, Emanuel, Lautaro, y oldest daughter Miriam (18) before giving the blessings to Soledad y Miriam. (Miriam has been helping take care of her grandma Carmen who is sick who lives across the street) The Spirit was very strong and Soledad asked if we could come back the next day to go give a blessing to Carmen as well. We made plans to pass by the next day as well and Soledad said she was feeling much better. We went over to give the blessing to Carmen who was laying in bed and apparently hasnt been able to eat or sleep or anything lately y isnt able to get up and do things for herself. Hermano Espinola gave the blessing and blessed her that the sun would come up the next day and she would be able to recover her strength to be able to sit up on her own and start eating food that she needs to be able to recover. Great people with great faith! After giving the blessing to Carmen we were able to have a great lesson with Soledad y her family and she told us that she was going to come to church this Sunday (her y Lautaro came, hope to see the rest of the family next week!). We were able to pass by Saturday night to visit Carmen and sure enough she was sat up in her bed and told us that she had been able to eat and sleep and was feeling a lot better! She also asked if we could share a message with her and her husband Antonio... who actually turned 65 that day! We talked briefly about the Restoration and Prayer y invited them to start praying together. I am still amazed to see how everything worked out so perfectly that we were able to be there for that family right when they needed us. We had gotten to the point where we didnt know what to do with the family because if the parents dont want the kids to get baptized there isnt much we can do... but I have come to realize that God is aware of the needs of all his children y knows just what it takes to open their hearts to recieve His gospel!

Also this week we got back to the pension one night and a neighbor lady we have never talked to before called me over to ask us a question. She asked "What happens to our children when they die?" and went on to tell us that on Nov 1 her son was robbed and thrown in front of a train and killed, and that her husband had died 2 years ago as well. Very sad situation, and you could tell that she had suffered a lot from not knowing what really happened to her loved ones who had passed away. As my companion and I taught and testified of the Plan of Salvation and that she could see her family again one day y be with them forever, the Spirit really hit me and it is always amazing to feel the love that our Heavenly Father has for each of His children. She thanked us for the comfort and told us she would be talking to us again soon.

This week we were also able to find the rest of the family of Roberto. He seems to be doing really well and is content that his family is listening to us now as well! Apparently this week he recieved news that his son that is in prison will probably be released soon and be able to come home. (Not sure about the whole story still... but apparently he is innocent.) We still havent seen any of them in church yet... his older daughters apparently like to go out dancing Saturday nights and dont get home until 10 in the morning on Sunday and obviously sleep all day. They were a little harder to teach... and didnt seem really interested in talking about God with us... but by the end of the lesson one of them told us that she was interested y had lots of questions. We told Roberto that they were all invited to church, y he promised they would all be there one day. We asked about his daughters who always go dancing and he told us... "they will only go dancing if I SAY they can go dancing". Great man, and always fun to visit his family. Also his son Facundo is learning to cut hair and I took advantage of the opportunity y got a free haircut one night after our visit! He actually did a really good job. I only had 10 pesos on me which he wouldnt even accept but eventually he took the money and went and bought a coke to share with everyone.

Anyways, I think thats about it for this week! Things are going really well and we are hoping to be able to set some Baptismal dates with some of these FAMILIES here in the near future!!! Hope I can be around to see their baptisms! We are hoping to see 10+ people in church this next week!!! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, November 1, 2010

Feliz Halloween!

Dear family and friends,

Hope you all had a fantastic Halloween! I think it is really starting to catch on here. They sell Halloween stuff at Walmart and I actually saw several "Halloween Parties" with kids dressed up... but theres nothing like Halloween at home and "Feliz Halloween" and "dulce o truco" (trick or treat) just sound weird! We actually had a really great week here in Wilde and are having more success in finding people to teach!

Wednesday was a pretty interesting day. We had the National Census here in Argentina and we had to stay in our pension until they came around to the house where we live. I used the time to clean up the Area Book a bit and enjoyed some extra study time. They finally showed up around 4 in the afternoon so we were able to leave and make some visits. I find it AMAZING that they are able to pass by every house in one day! The majority of the afternoon was pretty unsuccessful, but we were able to pass by an old investigator (Nora) and actually find her in her house (since everyone had to stay home anyways) and had a great chat with her.

We continue to teach Luisa but she hasnt made it to church again since we went with her several weeks ago. Lessons are very difficult with her and she struggles a lot with the reading, so we are still trying to figure out the best way that we can help her. She has a lot of problems in her family and is always wanting to talk about how miserable she is in her house... but says she feels good when we are there and when she reads and prays.

This week we made several visits to an investigator who we hadnt seen in several weeks who the missionaries have been teaching forever. His name is Roberto, he is about 50 years old, is actually married to his wife and they have 8 kids! We basically started all over with him talking about the Book of Mormon and the importance of receiving an answer from God. He admitted that in all his time meeting with the missionaries he had never been really consistent in asking for an answer and commited to start reading more often with that purpose in mind. He also expressed desires for his family to be there with him but that he didnt want to FORCE them to do anything, so we asked if it would be ok if we invited them to watch a movie for our next visit, which he seemed excited about. We talked to his wife and she of course accepted. One of his sons Facundo almost always is there for the lessons as well and we are hoping to start teaching ALL of them soon! Unfortunately Roberto couldnt make it to church this weekend and he is starting up a new job, so please pray that he will still be able to meet with us during the week and not have to work on Sundays!!!

This week we also found another great father of a family of 4 named Julio who actually stopped us in the street a week ago when we were doing contacts. He told us that he has several friends who are LDS and knows quite a bit. We showed up at his house Saturday morning without having a cita... and apparently we woke him up, but he invited us in anyways and we had a great chat with him. He actually has a very nice house, car, giant plasma TV, etc., not the class of people we are used to teaching, but the lesson went really well. He alraedy had a Book of Mormon that his friend had given him and he actually had some really good questions as we were teaching. We left him with the invitation to read and pray to gain an answer if it is really the word of God and if it is something that will be a blessing to his family. I think he feels that he needs to read the whole book and asked if we could pass by again in 2 weeks, but said it would be ok if we passed by before then to check up with him how the reading was going.

Well I think that is about it for now! Hope you all have a great week and cant wait to here from you all soon! Say hola to everyone and please inform Bro. Weight that the church is still true in Buenos Aires Argentina too!

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse