Tuesday, August 9, 2011

One last time...

Well everyone, looks like this is it! Unfortunately there just aren´t words to describe what I am feeling right now... and I myself am having a hard time believing it is real! As you can imagine I am overwhelmingly excited knowing that I will be seeing you all so soon! On the other hand I can´t help but feel an extreme sadness leaving behind the people here that I love so much! Needless to say it has been an amazing journey and I have loved every second of it!

Just one thought for today... Yesterday we had a special Stake Conference to reorganize the Stake Presidency here in Quilmes. We had the great priviledge of hearing from the Area President, Elder Arnold, as well as another visiting 70 Elder Alliaud. In a special session that we had for Investigators y new members before the actual conference began... Elder Arnold shared some thoughts that made me reflect a lot on my mission and the many experiences I have had during these 2 years. He based his thoughts in two parables found in Luke 15 in the New Testament... those of the lost sheep y the lost coin. He got very emotional as he talked about how we must care for and love those brothers and sisters who have wandered off in dangerous paths, because of their own choices (as the sheep), or because of the carelessness of others (as the coin). I have come to understand that it is impossible to do "too much" in trying to help those lost sheep find their way back to the fold, especially as I have come to understand and feel a portion of the love the Savior has for each one of his sheep.

I have also felt the incredible joy that comes as those lost sheep (or coins) are found y brought back to safety with much love y rejoicing. As he read the words of the parable, countless experiences flashed through my mind of the joy I felt as I saw people come to church for the first time, or after a long time of not going, the joy that I felt as people kept the commitments we left and saw the blessings that come from keeping the commandments of the Lord, seeing people put their faith in the Lord y recieving strength y guidance in difficult moments, and the joy that comes from seeing those people enter the waters of baptism and make that first eternally important covenant with our Heavenly Father y faithfully strive to live it in their daily lives. I have no doubt that the joy I felt in each case is a small reflection of the joy our Heavenly Father feels as he sees his children making those important decisions in their lives y recieving His blessings.

Short on time once again, so to wrap things up I just want to thank all of you one last time for all your support and prayers during these 2 years! I know that each one of you has been a great blessing y strength to me during my mission y that our Heavenly Father is aware of y answers your thoughts and prayers in behalf of his missionaries in all the world! I have no doubt that this is the Lords Marvelous Work y that he will continue to bless all his children throughout the world with the innumerable blessings of this restored gospel. I am so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ and for the many blessings I have recieved y the many lessons I have learned in His service.

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

still alive

hey just a short message to let you all know i am still alive! sorry shift key is broken y on top of that really short on time so sorry for not writing much. it has been a good week... very cold! huge storm last monday night... knocked down several trees, power outages, etc. took some video but dont know how well it turned out, luckily we were in the pension when it hit! saturday we had a service project helping a less active member paint their house. forgot how much i love painting!!! success of this week... on sunday Florencia (the 17 yeard old member daughter of an inactive member we have been visiting for a couple weeks) came to church with her boyfriend y they both felt really good! we will be going tuesday to talk a little bit more with them, so more to come next week! this sunday we have a special stake conference as they are going to reorganize the stake presidency... which means having several 70 as special guests! fun fun! today we enjoyed a tasty asado despite the cold y watched a movie as a district. hard to believe this is my second to last email! (i MIGHT have time to write on august 15th after my final interview with pres stapley y before heading to the airport. amazing how the time flies. i love you all! have a great week!

les amo
elder ian wheelhouse

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

El fin se acerca [the end is drawing near]

Dear family and friends,

"The end is near", a title inspired by the hymn we sang in Elders quorum yesterday... a bit of a shocking realization! I enjoyed your emails today and the several letters I have recieved these last several weeks. A special shoutout to cousin Jared! Thanks so much for your letter buddy y hope all is going well and that you are enjoying your summer! Thanks to all of you for your prayers y support! Looking forward to seeing you all!

Forgot to wish you all a feliz "Dia del amigo" last week. Came by suprise to me as well as we were walking around to several of our citas and people would shout out "feliz dia". Good to know we have friends in the neighborhood! :)

It has been a pretty busy but good week here in El Cruce, although we have been without electricity in the pension for the last 4 DAYS!!! Not a big deal, at least we still have hot water, but we have suffered a bit with no light, no heater, y no microwave. The Refridgerator has undertaken a well needed DEFROST y I somehow was able to resist the urge to make a snow ball with the melting ice to throw at my companion. Hopefully they will have it all hooked back up this afternoon. Apparently there was a problem with a bill that never got paid... we have had some interesting issues with bills in this pension but we have everything figured out now!

Friday I had my LAST "normal" interview with Pres. Stapley which went really well. He shared several thoughts about "enduring to the end" y also shared some great insight on the story of the Brother of Jared about how the Lord sometimes requires us to get creative y do HARD things to overcome our challenges. Very inspired man! Also enjoyed talking a bit with Hermana Stapley who is always anxious to share her new favorite scriptures with us. (Funny one concering "long meetings" see Acts 20:7-12)

Saturday we had the baptism of Fabricio y Ezequiel which went GREAT! We had a lot of support from the ward (they actually planned the primary y young mens activities for the day so that they would finish just in time to all be there for the baptism) y luckily there werent any unexpected problems which seem to usually occur the day of the baptism! Actually... I did have a bit of an accident trying to be heroic by eliminating some spiders from the baptismal font that were floating in the water y ended up falling into the water... luckily only completely submerging ONE of my legs up to the knee, shoe y everything. Our ward mission leader was right there watching and had a good laugh. Luckily after laying out my stuff in front of one of the heaters in the church my things were MOSTLY dry by the end of the baptismal service. Fabrico asked me to baptize him, and Elder Martinez baptised Ezequiel. The water was a bit chilly due to filling up the font extra early y letting the water sit. The Confirmation also went great Sunday y Ezequiel is excited to receive the Aaronic Priesthood y start passing the sacrament. Both were very happy y expressed desires to serve missions in the future! :)

Anyways, that’s all for this week! Love you all!

Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, July 18, 2011

4 Weeks!

Dear family y friends,

Hard to believe another week has flown by! I am feeling a lot better, although I still have a pretty bad cold y cough! The weather hasnt been helping much either. We have had several really nice days intermixed with several very cold rainy days like today. Right now we are here in the centro of Quilmes hoping to do some shopping. Bit of a rough start to the day waiting for a bus in the rain... y even worse is that several passed by without stopping! But, overall things are going pretty well!

Not a whole lot of news this week. Wednesday y Thursday we had another one of those Leadership Training meetings in Adrogue. Spent the 2 days with Elder Camey from my district who is training this transfer. We both suffered a bit with this nasty cold/flu going around. Not quite sure why I had to go since I will only be here a couple more weeks... but I enjoyed it anyways! It was a little different than usual, but it is always great just to hear from Pres. y Hermana Stapley! At the end of the trainings Hermana Stapley shared a movie with us about her parents y their story in Brasil. (Her father served a mission then returned several times with his wife as "senior" missionaries) Focused a lot in the love and appreciation they had for the people of Brasil. Of course it also made me think a lot of the love I have felt y recieved from the people here in Argentina! I feel like I will be leaving behind more loved ones than I will be coming home to! ("more" in quantity not necesarily quality!) I think as the time continues to go by I am realizing more and more how much I will miss this place and these people!

Saturday we were supposed to have a Ward Activity which only us y 3 sisters from the relief society showed up to. The activity was planned several weeks ago... but the Argentina - Uruguay game of Copa America just happened to fall that day. We ate some of the goodies the hermanas brought... some tasty orange rolls, homemade bread etc. then it was back to work! To end the night we did visit an inactive family who just happened to be watching the end of the soccer game. Poor Argentina! :(

Good day in church yesterday, although there were very few people. (I think probably like 75% of Argentina is sick with the flu right now!) On top of that "Winter Vacations" recently started, so surely there are at least several people who took advantage of having the kids out of school to take a trip! Maria came with her mom y 2 sons, who are very excited for their baptism this week! Oscar also showed up all on his own... gotta get that guy baptised! No sign of Noelia. When we saw her Thursday she was complaining a lot about a bad headache... so I assume she is probably sick with what I had! :S Her daughters LOVE church y are always asking when it will be sunday again! We also had several inactive families show up that we have been teaching for a while. One of them who has actually been going to church for the last 3 weeks (Gaston y Nadie) gave a talk in Sacrament meeting, and another one gave the closing prayer! I think everyone gets a little discouraged when they show up after not going for a while and seeing how FEW people there are in the church. I think there are around 700 members on our ward list... and there are only about 70-80 in church each week.

Anyways, thats it for this week! Love you all!

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, July 11, 2011

enfermo otra vez [sick again]

Dear family y friends,

First off, Happy Birthday Dad y Rebecca! Forgot to tell you all last week, but sounds like it went well! Hope you all had a great 4th of July as well!

Kind of a rough week... at least the last part. I was sick in bed mostly for the whole weekend y thinking it might be Bronchitis. Not fun! Feeling a bit better today, no fever at least, but still have a nasty cough/cold. If things don´t get better soon I think I´ll be going to the doctor.

Saturday besides being Dads birthday was Independence day here in Argentina. I was at least able to get up y make it to the citas we had that morning including lunch. On our way back to the pension we stopped by a big celebration they were having and took some pics. That morning we had seen lots of "gauchos" pass by our pension with their horses y carts. All of them got together at the celebration y there was music, asado, etc. I wish I could send the pictures but the computer is not letting me upload them right now! Next week! Great Cultural experience...

Church went great yesterday. Noelia y her daughters came again!!! :) We had 2 great lessons with her this week and she had lots of great questions. She asked about baptism as well but she will need to get married first y her marido is always working so we never get to talk to him. Had a pretty POWERFUL experience answering some of her questions about the Plan of Salvation. She apparently lost a couple children (difficulties in pregnancy, etc.) y wanted to know why God would allow that to happen.

Ezequiel y Fabricio also came with their mom y step father Christian which was a huge surprise. He says he doesn´t believe in God, y didn´t want to participate at all, but he came along anyways y seemed to feel comfortable. Speaking of Ezequiel y Fabricio we moved their Baptism back another week because we still have a LOT to teach them. They are excited to be baptized but its hard to keep their attention to be able to teach them! :S

Anyways, thats all for this week!
les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, July 4, 2011

Traslado #16 (Transfer #16)

Dear family y friends,

Happy 4th of July!! I am thinking this letter will be rather short... not because I don´t have much to say, but because my hands are frozen and its hard to type!!! Very few places here where you can actually escape from the COLD! Today is transfer day... y no news is good news! Elder Martinez and I will be staying together for my last transfer! Overall GOOD week!

Tuesday we had a great district meeting with a suprise visit at the end from Pres. Stapley. He talked about how our attitude will have the greatest impact on the success we have as missionaries. As a zone we also set the goal to baptize 18 people in the month of July.... a number that has not been reached in a very long time in the zone. That evening we enjoyed a tasty dinner with the Familia Kiss. (asado al horno with lots of salads y Homemade cookies one of their daughters made for us :)!!!) We had a good time talking and they gave me some pictures they took with you on their trip to Utah.

Wednesday nothing big happened.... but that evening we visited a family that has been inactive for YEARS. First the hermana offered us a nice hot Cappuccino she had prepared y when her husband reminded her that we don´t drink coffee she immediately prepared us a cup of tea that we had to politely reject as well. :P We all had a good laugh...

Thursday we had a great lesson with Maria y her 2 sons Ezequiel (12) y Fabricio (11). Both really good kids y when we got to their house they were all reading the Book of Mormon / singing hymns together as a family. We talked a bit about baptism and invited them to be baptized. They are both very excited for their baptism on July 15th!

Friday was Fabricios birthday, so we bought a Pasta Frola y some drinks to take to celebrate his birthday. I also gave him the frisbee you sent me last year for Christmas when I was in the coast.... hope you don´t mind! Very COLD night! Their mom was sick y the family doesn´t have much money, so it was fun to be able to have atleast a bit of a birthday party with them! After eating the "cake" we taught a little lesson trying to speak about the shouting, drumming, y singing of the Evangelist church next door. Probably one of the most INTERESTING lessons I have ever been in. (They have actually had lots of serious problems with their neighbors... not just the noise. Apparently Marias boyfriend Cristian, who says he is athiest, got so mad one night (most likely in addition to being drunk) that he went and set their church on fire.... I´m sure we will be having a lesson about Love y Patience with him shortly.

Sunday was our biggest success... blessings of fasting! We arrived a little later than usual 930 (we missed the earlier bus we usually take) and were suprised to find one of our investigators, Noelia, already there with her 3 children (Florencia 6, Adriana 5, y Rodrigo 1) talking with some of the members! Apparently she has lots of family who are members of the church, which made for a great conversation starter! Maria also came with her mom who hasn´t been to church in a very long time, as well as Ezequiel y Fabricio. It was also a miracle that a young inactive couple we have been working with (Gaston y Nadia) also came to church y stayed for all the meetings! It has been a looong time, y before they would come y argue with all the members. Gaston once told me he would NEVER go back to church in this ward. I was very happy to see them there y just another testimony of how the Lord can change peoples hearts!

Well that is all for this week! I love you all! Hope you have a great Independence Day!

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, June 27, 2011

Clock keeps ticking . . .

Dear family y friends,

It has been an interesting week with lots of ups and downs. I am getting used to being cold all the time y even though its not THAT cold (35-40 degrees) the cold, humid wind sure chills the bones!

Started off the week GREAT! On Tuesday I did an intercambio with Elder Chavez from Texas, who has been in the mission about 5 weeks. Everything went FANTASTIC which is exactly what I was hoping y praying for because apparently he has been having a hard time. All the people we planned to visit were home y all the lessons we went were PERFECT. We get along really well so we had a lot more unity teaching which makes a HUGE difference... even with the little spanish he can speak. We had a GREAT lesson with the Familia Mercado that we found last week talking about The Restoration. We did a contact y were able to teach an awesome kid named Jonathan y talked about the Book of Mormon y Prayer. We had a delicious dinner y great chat with a VERY INACTIVE family in our ward y had a great discussion about the Atonement which was very powerful! Honestly it was probably one of the best days of my whole mission. That night we were up a bit late talking, then the following morning we had to switch back with our companions EARLY because President Stapley y one of the assistants also wanted to do intercambios with them that day.

Unfortunately from that point on things started to go down hill for the rest of the week. Wednesday, Pablo cancelled our appointment that I was super excited about that we were planning to invite him to be baptised. Thursday I got news from the Zone Leaders that after talking with President Stapley, Elder Chavez would be going home on Monday. Saturday all of our plans cancelled on us... and the Familia Mercado that I was super excited about teaching basically told us that they didn´t want to talk with us anymore out of nowhere. It is very frustrating when things aren´t going the way you want them too... and luckily my companion and I are able to keep our heads up and keep working with the hope that there are people that the Lord has prepared for us to teach out there SOMEWHERE!

Apart from all that, we did have some success with one of the people we are visiting. I think a couple weeks ago I told you about an Hermana María who came back to church after many years after she started reading the Book of Mormon again. We had also talked a little bit a couple weeks ago with her boyfriend who she is living with named Cristian, who said he doesn´t believe in ANYTHING. I don´t know if its a good or bad thing but apparently he had a pretty frightenin/life changing experience this last week with a vision/dream of the devil or something and now he is scared and wants to learn more about God. On top of that we talked a bit with Marías 2 kids that are living with her now who both want to be baptized! Hope to see some progress with the whole family in these next couple weeks!

Anyways, thats all for this week. Hope you all have a great week!

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, June 20, 2011

Feliz día de la bandera! [Happy Flag Day!]

Dear family and friends!

Yes today IS Flag Day here in Argentina as well, although I have only seen 1 flag all day. Even though there isn´t much "celebration" happening... everything is closed down y we find ourselves without much to do! (The cold rainy weather doesn´t help either!) Hope you all had a great Fathers Day yesterday! Fathers sure are great people and of course I thought a lot about how grateful I am for my dad as well as my Heavenly Father.

It has actually been a really good week here even with the yucky weather. We are STARTING to see some progress in the area and found some great new people we are excited to keep working with!

Tuesday after District Meeting I had to go to Gutierrez to do a baptismal interview for some of the Elders in my district... which meant leaving my companion to run the area for the first time ever! Apparently they got lost pretty bad, but luckily were able to get some good stuff done and EVENTUALLY made it back to the apartment that night. I spent the day with Elder Camey who is also from Guatemala... AWESOME Elder. He told me his story about how he got recruited y played professional soccer in Europe for several years and how he decided to serve a mission. Pretty amazing story! It was fun getting to know him and work with him a bit. The Baptismal Interview went great y Miguel was baptised yesterday! That night we had a Noche de Hogar with a family that I just happened to know from Wilde (David y Maryanel) who are now living with Maryanels mom. (see fotos) Great people y we had a good time doing some catching up.

Friday we had Zone Conference in Adrogue which was fantastic as always... but makes for a VERY LONG DAY traveling etc. (1 bus y 2 trains. We left at 8 that morning y didn´t get back to our area until 730). I got volunteered to play the piano... which went well even though we sang a hymn I had never heard of before "Cuando enseñe a tus hijos" ("Help Me Teach With Inspiration" #281) y the piano itself was awkward to play with a combination of a super high pedal y my long legs. The theme of the Conference was The Importance of the Holy Ghost in recieving Revelation y was based on Elder Bednars talk from the last Conference as well as Elder Scotts talk from the October 2009 conference. We also watched an AWESOME talk that Elder Holland gave at the MTC at the beginning of this year... very powerful!

Saturday we found a great family... the Familia Mercado. It was actually a contact we did last week. We clapped the house y they looked at us through the window until finally Gimena, the 17 year old daughter came out to talk to us. We talked with her a little bit and she told us she had gone to several churches before but didn´t believe much in God. We left her a pamphlet and asked if we could pass by another day and she said it would be ok but wouldn´t commit to a time. We left thinking she wasn´t that interested y that MAYBE we would pass by another day if we worked close by. Well Saturday we worked in that area and just as we were leaving to work in a different area I felt we needed to go back and talk to Gimena again. On my way to the house I was thinking about... OK well what are we going to teach to this girl that hardly believes in God. We clapped the house y asked for Gimena... who came out and we talked for a min at the door y she asked if we wanted to come in. We got in the house y had a great conversation with MOST of the family, the dad y mom y 3 of the 6 children. They are great people! The father had lots to say y says he belives a lot in God but doesn´t believe in the Religions. To me it seems like a family who has been "kept from the truth because they know not where to find it." Gimena was excited to go to church with her Boyfriend on Sunday... but they didn´t end up making it with the rain y the fact that it was Fathers Day. We left them a Book of Mormon y will be going back on Saturday to talk with the whole family!

That night we had a ward activity... unfortunately not much of a turnout. We watched the RM which the Bishop was nice enough to "dedicate to me". We had a good time y some good laughs (it was all in english with spanish subtitles... the subtitled translation was AWFUL! but somehow they still got some of the jokes). One of the members brought along her non member husband, so we were able to get to know him a bit as well. Right as we were leaving there was a HUGE rainstorm, y luckily the bishop was nice enough to take us home in his car. :)

We were also very blessed yesterday to have a couple investigators show up to church... even though the assistence in general was WAY down because of Fathers day y the bad weather. I got to play the piano in sacrament meeting since one of the songs they wanted to sing isn´t programmed in the piano. Oscar of course was there, luckily with his family this week. The best of all was that Pablo (24 year old boyfriend of a member) showed up again after 3 or 4 weeks of not seeing him! He seemed to be doing really well y I think the Elders Quorum lesson on Eternal Families had him thinking a bit! I talked with him a bit after the meeting y FINALLY got his phone number y address. We set an appointment for this Wednesday y we are planning to invite him to be baptised! We still have a lot to teach him, but I think he is one of the people the Lord has prepared for us. Now we just need to help HIM recognize that! O YA, also in church yesterday there was a guy visiting from good old Orem Utah!! His last name is Bishop y he is from South Orem close to UVU. He is down here for a Law convention y also visiting his wifes family who lives in Usuaia, Argentina (Spelling?) way down south! He speaks really good spanish... served his mission in Meza, Arizona spanish speaking.

Anyways, thats all for this week! Hope you all have a great week! Only 8 more to go... can´t believe it!

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, June 13, 2011

Conferencia de Estaca

Dear family y friend,

Another fabulous week gone by here in Argentina! We enjoyed several warmer days this week... but it´s nice and cold again today! Amazing how the time is flying by! Weird thinking you should be recieving my release letter anytime now... I have had my travel plans for several weeks now, can´t remember if I mentioned that! I leave here around 8 pm on 15 August y get to Salt Lake around 5 pm on 16 August. There have been lots of flights here cancelled due to the volcano in Chile... there has been a little bit of ash on the cars, but luckily it hasn´t been TOO much like some other parts of the country. Should be cleared up in plenty of time for me to make it home without problems in August! :)

Tuesday we had a service project with an hermano in our ward. We helped him put in another concrete cross beam in his house... pretty fun and learned a lot! He has done a lot of work in his house by himself... which I don´t know how it is possible because it is a LOT of work y he can hardly use one of his arms! They always give us lunch, so it was nice being able to give back a little and help them out! :)

Another week of hard work without seeing much progress. We have found some good people at least in some areas we haven´t worked in before. We did a contact with a lady named Noemi last week y finally went back on Saturday to talk to her again y she told us she had been waiting all week for us to come back, but she was just leaving the house, so we set an appointment for Tuesday. Also found an awesome inactive member named Marcelo... who has been inactive for about 10 years. He was very excited to see us... y we are hoping to start working with his family (he is the only member...). Great people!

Yesterday we had a special "Stake Conference" satelitte transmission from Salt Lake for all of Argentina! I had never heard of them doing a conference like that before... but it was pretty cool! We started with a song y prayer in our church, then the transmission came on... with 4 speakers y an intermediate hymn, then the transmission shut off and we finished with another song y prayer. Pretty sad turnout... unfortunately pretty typical of conferences here. Oscar was there at least! Went all by himself. Can´t imagine what is holding him back from getting baptised. Great messages! Felt the love of each of the speakers for the people here y it was amazing to see how they really understand y know their needs. Elder Claudio Zivic spoke first about the importance of "The Words of Christ" in our lives. Next Sister Wixom... president of Primary taled about the youth y the important role parents have in being examples for them and teaching them the gospel. Elder Neil L Anderson gave his whole talk in SPANISH y focused on the strength that comes through obedience to the commandments (especially tithing y missionary service). The last speaker was Pres. Packer who talked about the importance of following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

Anyways, thats all for this week! Hope you all are enjoying your summer y keeping plenty busy! Love you all!

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hace Frio

Dear family and friends,

Another COLD week here in Argentina! Unfortunately a relatively SLOW week as well. Good to hear things are finally starting to warm up at home... hopefully the extra long winter means an extra long summer so I can enjoy some of that heat when I get home!! Last week I forgot to congratulate all of you for finishing another year of school! Yay!

The work is moving forward slowly but surely. We have started working in a lot of areas that have never been worked much and have talked with some great people. Probably our biggest obstacle is just trying to get the members excited about missionary work and invite their friends/family to listen to us... because we are having a hard time finding people to teach on our own! Sunday we had a great lesson in Elders Quorum about the Ward Misison Plan... and in another week or so my companion and I will be giving a training during the 3rd hour about "member referals" and give them all a baptism challenge card that the mission gave us.

Success story of the week... we have been working with the Barrios family for the last several weeks... and the mother of the family and the kids have all came to church for 3 weeks straight. But THIS week the father came after 2 years of not going! He is a great hermano y has such a huge capacity to help the ward progress (he has served as ward mission leader, elders quorum president, etc.) and all the members have nothing but good things to say about him. He is very down to earth as well and recognizes that he is the only one to blame although he has had several difficulties with work, etc. that have made it hard for him to go to church. Between the powerful testimony meeting we had yesterday, a good chat with the bishop, y continuing our visits, hopefully he can make the necessary changes to stay strong!

Yesterday I also recieved the tasty treats from one of the Kiss family daughters at church. I made the mistake of giving a taffy to one of the primary kids between classes... and before I knew it I was surrounded by children begging for "Caramelos". I told them if they were good for their teacher I would give them all a treat after all the meetings were over. After the meetings everyone was excited to try the tasty salt water taffies from Utah. I ended up leaving empty handed but it was fun to share with everyone. I figured I would be home in a short amount of time anyways and would be able to enjoy all the treats I want. ;) THANK YOU for sending the treats, they were a big hit in the ward!

Anyways, sorry so short this week! Congratulations to all those newly weds y newly engaged!

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, May 30, 2011

Last Companion!

Dear family y friends,

This one is gonna be short although there is lots to say! I´ll try to get it all in! Tuesday I got my new companion... Elder Martinez from Guatemala. He came "pre-trained" and had been serving 3 months in a mission in Guatemala waiting for his Visa to come to Argentina. He y his mom y sister are the only members in his family since his father y brothers have been living in Mississippi the last several years working y therefore weren´t there to recieve the missionaries. They have been members for about 5 years. His sister will also be serving a mission in the not too distant future y for now is waiting for her call. He actually grew up in Mexico most of his life... so I am learning some words, expressions, etc. that will be of use when I get home. :) Awesome Elder y everyone in the ward is pretty excited to have a missionary from such an "exotic" place.

My comps first day in the mission was pretty interesting. It was a very cold rainy day. The pictures we took didn´t turn out great since we were all rushed to get out of the rain! (By the way mom... one of the Hermanas that is training this transfer is from Tremonton Utah! Her name is Hermana Norby... ring any bells? She said she´s from Riverside, a Belmont ward...) We left the mission home in Banfield around 4 in the afternoon and had a 2 hour train ride with luggage which is always fun... We got back to our area around 7, dropped off his stuff y hurried off to a Meeting with our Ward Mission Leader at his house.... which no one else ended up showing up for. :S We had a good talk with him at least y we were able to dry off a little bit at least before getting soaked again on the way back to the pension.

It has been a bit of a rough week here once again. Starting to very cold and all of our plans have been falling through on us. :S We are also trying to "build the area" y have started to work in areas that haven´t been worked in a long time... contacting old investigators, visiting members y asking for references, doing contacts, etc. We talked with some great people y hopefully should see some progress in the coming weeks. My companion seems to like the area y says it is pretty similar to the area he was serving in in Guatemala. On top of all the teaching opportunities that fell through this week we also had several service projects fall through which was a bit frustrating! Things have got to turn around sooner or later so we are just trying to be happy with what we have and keep working!

Thursday we had our first Zone Meeting in Quilmes y we were supposed to be watching a 2 hr video on Preach My Gospel.. but about 15 min into it the power went out. The Zone leaders ended up having to give a last minute lesson, but it actually turned out really good. It has been 4 or 5 weeks since I have had a chance to teach a class with my district! We have a lot of great Elders in our Zone this transfer... with over half the zone training new missionaries. (There are 6 new missionaries in the zone). That evening we ran into the familia Kiss in the church but didn´t get to talk much. They said they really enjoyed the visit y are looking forward to sit down y talk a bit more about it. (They were just leaving as we got there.)

Not much happened in Church yesterday. Oscar came to church alone but had to leave after sacrament meeting. We had one hermana that showed up that I had never met before who said that after several years of being inactive/doing worldly things she started reading the Book of Mormon y felt she needed to come back to church. She is about 30 years old y has a 12 year old kid that will likely end up getting baptized in the not too distant future. She has a very strong testimony y it was a pleasant suprise for us after a rough week!

Anyways, that’s all for this week. Can´t believe it is almost June! Happy Memorial Day! I love you all!

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, May 23, 2011

Transfer Time Again... mí último cambio!

Dear family and friends,

Today is transfer day... but as for now I still don´t have my new companion or even know who he is. What I do know is that I will be staying in El Cruce y training a new missionary! There is a new rule in the mission that says that trainers HAVE TO stay with their trainees for 12 weeks, so he will be my LAST companion y El Cruce will be my LAST area. I am very happy y excited to train and hope to have the 2 BEST transfers of my whole mission and that it will be a great first experience for my companion as well. I love the ward I am in and I am perfectly content knowing that I don´t have to worry about any more CHANGES!

Very exhausting week. Wednesday morning we had a district service project in my area. Oscar y his wife asked us to help them carry several chapas (generally means "sheet metal" but in this case it was chapas of Cement Fiber that they use as a roofing material - see picture 811) to their house from a lot in front of their house. What they DIDN´T tell us before hand was that we would first have to take them down from the roof.... not an easy task. We ended up figuring out a way to do it but it was really hard considering how BIG y HEAVY each chapa was. 8m x 1m (aprox. 25 ft x 3 ft). We were only able to take down 4 or 5 chapas in the 2 hours we had to work leaving 5 or 6 chapas left. Of course we didnt want to leave the work undone... but I felt that we had done what we could and that it was too dangerous to keep going. The hermana told us she felt the same, although Oscar was a little upset that we didn´t finish, but they thanked us for the work y luckily no one got hurt!

Thursday y Friday we had another LONG leadership meeting in Adrogue. Elder Andros (Virginia) y Elder Ayala (Chile) came and stayed in my area while our companions all stayed in Platanos for the 2 days. We had to leave around 8 in the morning to get their on time and got back to El Cruce at around 8 at night... very looong days. The meetings were great, always great being taught by Pres. Stapley y the Assistants y always fun seeing all my buddies in the mission. (I saw everyone but Elder Holladay from my MTC District)

Yesterday went great in church as well. We had the familia Barrios in church again (less active family) as well as 2 investigators. One of the investigators, Pablo, is the boyfriend of a member y he stayed for all 3 meetings for the first time y really seemed to like it! We had a lesson on Baptism in Gospel Principles that got kind of out of control with a question about baptizing babies y I was freaking out because Pablo is Catholic... but it ended up getting resolved y he didn´t seem to be offended. After Priesthood meeting I talked with him a bit and asked how he liked it and he said he loved it and that he felt a bit overwhelmed and that he will have to keep coming to learn more. I gave him a Book of Mormon y he is excited to start reading and we set up an appointment for this weekend to talk to him again. There were some great talks in Sacrament meeting... the Sumo Consejero of our ward spoke y he talked about how we need to see ourselves as "the first domino"... and that we need to be constant examples because if we fall we never know how many other people that fall could effect. It was a comment mostly directed towards those that go inactive but I felt it could apply to many other situations as well!

Anyways, thats all for this week. Off to the pension to clean things up a bit for my new companion y hopefully rest a bit! (By the way I am spending the day with Elder Ayala again who is also training... a total of 6 misisonaries in the zone training this transfer out of the 10 companionships... it will be good to have some NEW BLOOD! :P)

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, May 16, 2011

Menos que 100 días más

Dear Family,

It has been a pretty uneventful week to be honest. Overall things are going well and I am happy as can be. Holding up well in the cold weather... but doing laundry is becoming more and more of a burden. 3 more months til Washer y Dryer!!!

Monday - enjoyed playing some Basketball with the Elders in my district as well as some kids from their ward. I was the only "norteamericano" in the group so everyone looked to me expecting me to know how to play, call all the fouls, etc. We had a good time and by the end everyone was playing really well. That night we had the Noche de Hogar with the Familia Silva which went really well. One of the daughters taught the lesson on the Word of Wisdom which I know she did with the intent to try to help her older brothers/sisters who have some problems. Everything went really well and even though they already know that what they are doing is wrong its always good to have that reminder of the many promised blessings that one can only hope to achieve through obedience.

Tuesday turned out to be a very LONG day. We found a great old investigator named María who seemed excited to see us. We taught about the Book of Mormon and about the many answers one can find through prayerfully studying it. She has a son in prison and her daughter is divorced and living with her at home. Very nice lady and she is excited to pick up reading again. That afternoon most of our plans fell through until our Mission Correlation meeting with the Ward Mission Leader that evening. Still working on getting the new "15 Families" program going here in the ward.

Wednesday I woke up early in the morning very sick and spent the day sick in bed. It is flu season here and it seems to be making its way around, but I think what I had was something food related because luckily it was just a one day thing.

Thursday we had Zone meeting y interviews with President Stapley. My companions 2nd interview this transfer since they had interviews in his other area several weeks ago. The Zone Leaders y the Assistants both taught classes that were really good. The Assistants talked about the importance of Time... which I have really started to understand as I come closer and closer to the END of my mission. Great talking to President as well. He let me know that Elder Mendez is doing well at home and that he is going to have his operation soon and hopefully be back in the mission in 6 months or so. Finished late that evening. Got back to our are in time to pay our rent and make several photocopies of papers that we took to Executive Commitee meeting that night.

Friday - Another LONG rough day. Had a great weekly planning in the morning and made plans to start working in several areas that I have hardly worked in during my time here. Hope to see some success. Once again almost all our plans failed us in the evening which is never fun. We decided to pass by several inactive families that I have never met before. One of them apparently doesn´t want anything to do with the church... one of the daughters was leaving the house with her boyfriend just as we showed up... we asked if the Familia San Martin lived there (even though we already knew that they did)... and she lied to our face and walked off. We visited another inactive family who gave us the reference of another Hermano who was very sick and needing a priesthood blessing. We went to the house y the Hermano and his wife both went off talking about how the church doesn´t do anything to help them and no one visits them, although the hermana assured us it was nothing to do with us. We talked about the Atonement a little bit (as much as we could since they didn´t let us talk much) y left 2 chapters in the Book of Mormon for them to read. They were grateful for the visit, but I left the house with a headache. :S

Saturday we had service planned in the morning to help a family in our ward move... who were also going to give us lunch. About 20 min before we were ready to leave they called us letting us know they wouldn´t be moving until next week. Luckily we were able to find things to do to keep us busy in the morning. Visited la Familia Barrios... and inactive family and had a great visit with them. An added blessing... they invited us to stay and eat lunch with them as well y they just happened to be eating a tasty asado. :)

Sunday was OK. Had good turn out for Ward Conference although only 1 investigator came. It was great seeing 2 less active families that we have been working with (Barrios y Insauralde) at church, and Richard Silva was there again. Had some good visits in the afternoon, but not much luck finding new people to teach. The biggest soccer game in Argentina was going on in the afternoon (El Superclasico Boca Juniors vs. River Plate) so people don´t even answer their doors. Highlight of the day was talking to Elder Castro Peña y Elder Alvarez last night on the phone. Both of them seem to be doing really well. Hard to believe they both have 7 months in the mission now!

Anyways, thats all for now. Have a great week! Last week of school right?

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Feliz día de la Madre!

Dear family and friends!

So good to talk to you all yesterday! Even though we got cut a little short it was great just to hear your voices and of course it is nice knowing that 3 months from now I will be home again with all of you! I am also very grateful to the bishop for letting us use his phone... and on TOP of that they made us pizza y empanadas Y he drove us home afterwards, saving us from having to walk home 20 blocks late at night y in the cold. I was also very impressed by your spanish mom y dad and hopefully you will get the chance to practice again this week with the Familia Kiss!

This week has brought some sad but ´for the better´ changes which most of you probably already know about. Looks like I will likely be finishing my mission here in El Cruce which will be the longest I have ever been in one area. I have come to love this area even though at first it was really difficult, y I would definitely prefer to finish here than to go to a new area for 1 transfer y hardly get to know anyone! We´ll see what happens!

Monday night we had a great Noche de Hogar with the Familia Silva. I volunteered to prepare the lesson after having a little "revelation" Saturday night that gave me the idea. 2 of the sons in the family are starting to come back to church y one of them has desires to serve a mission. Since they have been inactive for quite a while they are also struggling to give up some old habits, so we decided to teach a lesson on Repentance. We based the lesson in what has come to be one of my favorite stories in the Book of Mormon in Alma 24... talking about the people of Anti-Nefi-Lehi y their conversion. It was great having ALMOST the whole family there and they all listened y participated really well. After talking about repentance y reading the stories we did a little activity. That morning I had cut out 15 swords from posterboard that we handed out y we all wrote some bad habits or things we want to change on the swords y then went outside y burned them... "And this they did, it being in their view a testimony to God, and also to men, that they never would use weapons again for the shedding of man’s blood; and this they did, vouching and covenanting with God, that rather than shed the blood of their brethren they would give up their own lives; and rather than take away from a brother they would give unto him; and rather than spend their days in idleness they would labor abundantly with their hands." Alma 24:18. It ended up being a fun activity y we took lots of pictures. :)

Tuesday morning after district meeting we headed off to Quilmes... first to eat lunch at "Panino" - a tasty Mozarella chicken sandwich... and then off to the Sanatorio de la Trinidad to talk with the doctor about the results of my companions MRI. He told us it looks like my comp has a torn ligament... which is more serious than what they originally thought, and that it would take 8-12 months to recover completely from the surgery. At that moment we knew he would be going home to have the operation... but we assumed that he would at least stay to finish the transfer. When we got back to the pension we called President Stapley y told him the results... y my comp started crying as President told him that he would be callings his parents, stake pres., etc. to get everything in order for him to go home. It wasn´t until that night around 930 when we got a call from Hermana Jones in the offices asking what airport was closest to my comps house that we knew he would be flying out the next day. (At the moment we were in a cita with a part member family) Very sad shocking news. He of course was sad that he wasn´t going to be able to say goodbye to anyone, although we did go early the next morning to say goodbye to the Familia Silva. We got back to the pension around 10 and were up most of the night packing his stuff. (He had also just put all his clothes in the wash that morning so they were all wet, so we had to hang them there in the pension with the fans turned on all night y luckily it was all dry by morning.) Luckily we were able to laugh y joke a little bit which hopefully helped a little bit.

Wednesday we made the trip to Banfield to make the change, after stopping in a sports store so he could buy an Argentina Soccer Jersey. After hardly sleeping at all 2 nights in a row I was absolutely EXHAUSTED! My new companion was already there waiting, so we pretty much got there, said goodbye, y then I was out the door again with my new companion headed back to our area. My new companion, Elder Tadeo Rosales, is actually from the Ward of Parque Barón in Banfield, my 3rd area. I knew he looked familiar when I saw him although we never got to know each other very well in the short time I was in that area. He is preparing his papers to leave on the mission, but put them on hold to come serve a mini mission for 6 weeks. It has been nice getting to know him y hearing some news from my old area and he is a great missionary! Overall we have had a great first week and it has been nice getting back to WORK!

Saturday night we had another great Noche de Hogar with the Familia Arrevalo from Peru. The father invited his non member sister Gladis, and one of the daughters invited her boyfriend to watch the Joseph Smith movie with us... although the boyfriend somewhat freaked out last minute y basically ran out the door, very strange. We all enjoyed the movie y shared our testimonies afterward. Gladis seemed to enjoy the movie and was very touched by the things that he suffered in his life for the church. Apparently she is very active in the Catholic church... but seems interested in learning more. We would have offered her a Book of Mormon, but turns out she doesn´t know how to read. I am sure we will have another opportunity to talk to her. After the Spiritual part we enjoyed a tasty Peruvian dish y had a great talk. Apparently Peru, as well as pretty much all the rest of the world EXCEPT Argentina, celebrates Mothers day in May, so we wished them all a Happy Mothers day. They are a great family y are always making sure we have somewhere to eat each day. I imagine I will be finishing the mission several pounds heavier thanks to them. :P

Yesterday I was the only one celebrating Mothers Day, but I did my best to wish everyone a "Feliz ´Norteamericano´ día de la Madre". We had 3 investigators in church... Delio, Oscar, y Roberto, y it was also great seeing Richard y Royer Silva show up to church in suit y tie y stay once again for all 3 meetings! Great talks on Faith y Honesty. Gospel Principles class was also on Faith which our Ward Mission Leader Hermano Cardozo taught. He struggled a lot with the class but he is a great man y he recognizes that the only way to improve is to practice. Even though he struggled with the class the Spirit was very strong y I felt he taught us all a great lesson through his sincerity y example exercising his faith to teach the lesson.

That´s all for now, hope you all have a great week!

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, May 2, 2011

¡Feliz Dia del Trabajador! [Happy Labor Day!]

Dear Family y Friends,

Sounds like some GREAT news this week! The news about Osama bin Laden has been big here as well... still havent had any comments from anyone about it yet... so not quite sure what people think. I actually first got news on a bus ride this morning when I saw the headline on the front of a newspaper a guy was reading. Hard to believe it is still snowing in Utah. We have had some cold winter weather the last couple days here. My comp is pretty much dying from the cold because where he lives in Chile has nice summer weather all year long.

Once again not a whole lot of news this week. We went back to the doctor on Thursday to pick up the results from the MRI, but the doctor forgot to mention to us that he is only there on Tuesday y Wednesday so we werent able to talk with him. We will be headed back tomorrow to talk with the doctor and THEN we will finally know a little better what is going to happen. Kind of frustrating but my comp seems to be taking it well.

We did have a couple good things happen this week as well. Saturday night we had a great visit with Javier y his family, the family we helped build their house a couple months ago. We had stopped passing by for a while but I kept having the thought that we needed to go back. It was our first time getting into his house and actually being able to sit down and have a good chat with him. His mom y brother are both members of the church in another Stake, but he has never heard much about the church y has lots of questions/doubts from what he has heard. We had an interesting conversation about the Commandments y also the Book of Mormon. His wife y his mother in law both seemed really interested, but he was a little more doubtful, although all of them accepted the invitation to read y pray. More than anything he has doubts about committing to keep certain commandments because he believes God wouldnt put so many restrictions on us. Luckily it is a pretty easy doubt to work with y he is willing to listen y teachable at least. We will keep working with him y his family for sure.

Yesterday we also had some good stuff happen at church! It was a very cold rainy morning y there was hardly anyone at church when we showed up, except for Delio, one of our investigators who showed up all on his own even though his family (who are members) didnt want to come. I sat with him and as the meeting started more and more people started to show up.

The other miracle was when the Familia Silva showed up... The mother y her daughters walked in first, who usually always come to church. A couple seconds later 2 of her older sons walked in with their friend Richard who is visiting from Paraguay (they have been inactive for a long time but have come to church several times in the last several weeks.) Then finally Miriam, the oldest daughter showed up all on her own with her baby son. We even got the sons to stay the whole 3 hours with us! In Elders Quorum we even commited them to leave with us to do some home teaching visits to some inactive members they know. Richard has been a HUGE help as well. He is preparing his papers to go on a mission, y is a GREAT example for the whole family!

Last night we visited Delio y Noemi and watched the Joseph Smith movie. We also invited one of her brothers to watch with us, who is a member, but inactive y has been going to the Universal Church for several years. We all shared our thoughts y testimonies after the movie y her brother accepted the invitation to say the closing prayer. Nice to see a LITTLE bit of progress with him at least since the last time we talked he rejected a copy of the Book of Mormon that I offered him.

Well Family, thats all for this week! Hope you all have a great week. The Spring Weather should be on its way soon since we are just barely starting to get the Winter Weather here!

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, April 25, 2011

Feliz Pascua [Happy Easter]

Dear Family y Friends,

Happy Easter! That sure came by suprise! Hope you all enjoyed a beautiful Easter weekend with some long waited for sunshine y springtime! Thank you to all those who wrote me for your emails y keeping me updated on whats going on at home!

Not a whole lot of news this week. We made a couple trips to Quilmes this week to go to the Sanatorio de La Trinidad... which is a very nice Clinic where my comp is having his knee looked at. This week we had a $150 doctor visit Wednesday followed by a $1200 MRI on Thursday. Should be getting the results back from the MRI this Thursday y hopefully scheduling the surgery. Wednesday before our appointment with the doctor we ate lunch at a restraunt in Quilmes the Zone Leaders told us about. Its a really tasty sandwich place called Panini and the owner is actually from New Jersey and has been living here several months (His Mom is from Argentina). It was cool talking with him a little bit in English... and I enjoyed a delicious BBQ sandwich which I havent had in a LOOONG time!

Everything at the doctor went really well, NICE building, very clean y up to date, y friendly staff. Pres. Stapley has also been very helpful y is very anxious to get everything taken care of as soon as possible. He sure loves us y takes good care of us and I am so grateful for his help and support.

Yesterday was a pretty exciting Easter Sunday. We had a lot of people show up at church which always makes me happy, including 3 investigators, y several members who havent been to church in a very long time! However, we also had several people who DIDNT show up... one of which was supposed to be giving a talk, so for the first time in my mission I got called on to give a spur of the moment talk in Sacrament meeting! It actually went really well... and couldnt have happened a more perfect day! I shared several thoughts, experiences, y scriptures about the Atonement y shared my testimony. I more than filled the 5 min they needed y turned out to be a really good experience. After Sacrament meeting I ended up having to teach the class again in Gospel Principles on The Church of Jesus Christ in the (Antiguedad?). That turned out OK, and at least we had a good turnout of people to share their thoughts.

Well that’s about it for this week! Looking forward to getting the results back from my comps MRI this week and hopefully we should have some news next week of whats going to be happening!

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Somos prisioneros de la pensión [We are prisoners in our apartment]

Dear family and friends,

Pretty rough week this week! Things started out GREAT Monday y Tuesday. We worked really hard and had some great success working in an area I hadn´t ever worked in before with Elder Castro. We were able to talk with several old investigators as well as doing several contacts, almost ALL of which seemed very promising, and 2 of them even let us into their house on the spot! We basically had met most of our goals for the day by lunch time... so that afternoon was just the icing on the cake. :) Things were going really well y we both felt it was going to be a very successful transfer. That afternoon my comp mentioned to me that we needed to call the mission doctor because he had been having some bad knee pain lately and he was needing to go have it looked at, so we set an appointment for the next morning. Worked that evening and went to bed no thinking much about it. Early Wednesday morning we made the trip to the Church Offices in Palermo, Capital Federal (1 hr 20 min bus ride y 2 subways). We arrived much earlier than expected, about an hour and a half early for the appointment, so we took advantage of the time to do some studying since we had lost a good chunk of our study time traveling. Finally we were able to meet with the doctor Elder Hollingsworth y his wife from Alberta, Canada. Great people! and neither of them speak Spanish! so I had fun getting some practice translating throughout the visit. (Luckily they at least know the medical terms) He came to the conclusion that he has a Torn Medial Miniscus which I guess is one of the 2 pieces of cartilidge that lie beneath the knee cap, which was appartenly caused by a previous soccer injury y re-agravated here in the mission. He told us he would need to have an Arthroscopy surgery to fix it... which will take about 2 weeks to recover from, and in the mean time he said we should avoid walking as much as possible to keep it from getting worse. We have spent the rest of the week taking it easy, and luckily were able to get out to get a few thing done. We have also been in close contact with Pres. Stapley y several hospitals trying to set a time to get him in to meet with a knee specialist y schedule the surgery.

Thursday evening we had a Noche de Hogar scheduled with the Familia Palavecino... but when we arrived at the house the husband came out and pretty much told us that they will not be coming back to the Church and that they have decided to continue with the church they are already going to. Pretty big smack in the face although I am pretty sure the wife y kids still have desires to come back. Tuesday we had a great lesson with the Wife and one of her friends, we read 2 Nefi 2 and talked a lot about Agency answering several questions that they had. The Spirit was very strong and at the end of the lesson when we asked if there was anything we could do for her she asked us if we would pray for her because she was passing through some really hard times and needed God´s help. We took advantage of the opportunity to talk a little bit about priesthood blessings and gave her a blessing of comfort before leaving. I am sure we will continue to pass by a couple more times at least to see if any progress can be made with the husband. We had planned to talk about Temples y Eternal Families that evening for the Noche de Hogar... and my comp and I still feel that that will be something that could definitely soften his heart.

Friday night we had a Ward activity that has been 2 months in the making. Wasn´t very well organized... and there were lots of people who didn´t complete with their responsabilities. The poor old Elders Quorum President hardly had any support from anyone except for the Ward Mission Leader y luckily we were able to help quite a bit as well. Overall I think it ended up being a great success! We had an inactive family as well as 2 of the sons of the Familia Silva who haven´t been to church in a while show up. In the time we were there we played several games y they had sandwiches, drinks, y panchos (hot dogs) for everyone. I think after we left they had a mini talent show y dance.

Saturday we had a late lunch appointment with Gabriel who had also invited Elder Maxfield (the Elder who baptized him 10 months ago who just finished his mission this last week, also a mission buddy of mine I got to know in the Coast!) y his parents as well. They are from Salt Lake City, y one of their sons also served in Uruguay, who they also flew down to pick up, so they had had some experience in South America before although neither of them speak any spanish. (More translating practice!) Enjoyed visiting with them and they also had Scype set up at Gabriels house y were video chatting with his brothers y sisters at home. Elder Maxfield y Gabriel both shared their testimonies with his brother y sister in law who both speak spanish y it was an awesome experience! His parents gave my comp and I some starbursts and snickers. MMmmmm. :) Bro. Maxfield is a Civil - Structural Engineer for the Church Temple department, so part of their trip will also include a visit to the Buenos Aires temple to see how the construction is coming along. The most recent estimate I have heard is that it will be opening in June of 2012... Very long time without a temple!

My companions first Sunday in the ward so he got to present himself in Sacrament meeting. Nice seeing Darío for the first time in 2 weeks and being able to catch up a bit with him. Apparently he has had 2 pretty tough weeks in his Police Training. SOMEHOW I ended up giving the Gospel Principles class on "The Lords Covenant People" which luckily I had at least read the chapter before hand. It ended up going pretty well, and I made special emphasis to help Oscar, the one investigator we had in the class, understand that covenants are made between US and GOD. He has also had a couple difficult weeks with some health y family problems, but we continue to work with him y see his progress, slow but sure! In Priesthood we talked about Tithing y we all had the opportunity to share our testimony of tithing. Elder Maxfield y his parents even showed up after attending a sacrament meeting in another ward and his father even shared his testimony in English which Elder Maxfield translated. After church, another shared lunch with Elder Maxfield y his family in the house of our Ward Mission Leader, very tasty!

Anyways, that is all for this week! I am doing Well just trying to enjoy this extra time in the pension to do some extra studying, pondering, letter writing, organizing, etc.! Thank you for your prayers and support. Please pray all will go well with my comps doctor visit this Wednesday!

les amo!
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Traslados! [Transfers!]

Dear family and friends,

All is well here in El Cruce with a couple changes. Elder Castro Peña has moved on to his second area, Lanus II in the stake of Avellaneda, y I am now with my new companion Elder Mendez from Chile! President must think I need help with my spanish putting me with so many latin comps in a row :P but I am grateful for the opportunity to keep improving and hopefully it will do me good in the future! I can already tell he is a great missionary with great desires to serve with all his heart might mind and strength! He has been in the mission for 6 weeks, so still very new! His whole family are members y he also has his girlfriend waiting for him.... and we are finding we actually have quite a bit in common. Looking forward to getting to know him better y to learn from him.

This last week has seemed very long y tiring... but overall NOT BAD! Monday night we both felt we needed to visit the bishop y his family who have been passing through some hard times to try to animate them a little bit. We have been trying to work more with the members to get references for people to teach without much success, so we both decided it would be a good idea to start with the bishop. He appreciated our visit y we at least have his trust y friendship, but it is going to take some work getting this ward more missionary oriented!

Tuesday was our last District meeting of the transfer so we took several pictures as a zone and as a district. Afterwards we did an intercambio with the Zone Leaders and I spent that afternoon y Wednesday morning in Quilmes with Elder Mortensen. It was great catching up with him and we had a great chat about the things we have learned in the mission y plans for the future. Neither of us can believe how little time we have left! They have one of the nicest pensions in the mission on the 11th floor of an apartment building overlooking the Quilmes Futbol Stadium. Unfortunately... there weren´t any games that night! I really enjoyed working with Elder Mortensen as well and we had several GREAT lessons. I think I would really enjoy being a zone leader for that reason only, having a companion with lots of experience in the mission, but at the same time I am sure I have plenty left to learn being with new missionaries!

Thursday night we had a noche de hogar with the familia Palavecino in the house of a member family and we watched the Joseph Smith movie and shared our testimonies. It went really well and the family seems to be more and more excited to come back to church y slowly but surely we can see a "might change of heart" happening in the father of the family. We will continue to pray for rain each Sunday so that he won´t be able to go to work and can accompany his family to church which actually worked really well last week for General Conference!

Saturday night we got transfer calls... which usually means a lot of phone calls from buddies in the mission seeing what is happening with everyone. Probably the best news I heard was talking with Elder Alvarez who left Wilde last transfer y is now serving in Magdalena.... but had gotten word that Marcos, Soledad, y Emanuel got BAPTIZED several weeks ago as well as several family friends who Soledad introduced to the missionaries!! Hopefully I will get the opportunity to give them a call soon to congratulate them and I hope to see them before I come home! Would have LOVED to be there for the baptism, but I am just so grateful and happy to have been a part of that y to see some of the amazing changes that happened in their lives!

Yesterday I let Elder Castro Peña "take the wheel" y we had a very busy day passing by families to say goodbye. We also had fast y testimony meeting yesterday and we both shared our testimonies. I am grateful for the time I got to spend working with him, y the many things that I could learn from his example. We joked about him having only 2 years as a member... and me having almost 2 years as a missionary... and he was still able to teach me so many things!

Today we made the long/awkward/exhausting/painful trip to Banfield to transfer meeting... waking up at 545 this morning for my comp to do some last minute packing then awkwardly carrying all his stuff to the train station (he only had 1 suit case) y trying to board a PACKED train full of impatient people on their daily commute to work. The train was so packed we couldn´t get off in Avellaneda to switch trains y ended up at the end of the route in Constitución which meant walking about 500 m more than we would have in Avellaneda to get on the train we needed to get to Banfield. (Luckily no stairs had to be climbed!!!) Enjoyed a great transfer meeting and it is always great hearing the testimonies of the missionaries who are headed home. (I happened to know ALL of them this transfer... y its is starting to hit me that pretty soon that will be me up there!) Many of the missionaries shared "the biggest or most important lesson they had learned on their mission"... and several talked about charity, faith, obedience, etc.... all of which I have learned a lot about as well! I think one of the greatest lessons I have learned is the importance of the BASICS... specifically daily prayer y scripture study! I am especially grateful for the Book of Mormon and the great instrument it is in combination with prayer in providing us the guidance of the Lord in our daily lives. It´s hard to believe that anyone can read that book and NOT feel absolutely overwhelmed with the Spirit of the Lord. I am reminded of an experience of Elder Holland who after having given the Book of Mormon to a doctor friend was suprised when a week later his friend returned the book saying "thank you so much". Elder Holland looked at his friend for a minute, and replied "´Thank you so much´ is no kind of answer for someone who has actually read this book... now, go read it and when you finish I want my book back." Several weeks later his friend returned in tears bearing testimony that he knew the book was true and was baptized shortly after. I LOVE the Book of Mormon for many reasons. For it´s simple teachings of gospel principles, for it´s incredible witness and testimony of the life and mission of our Savior Jesus Christ, for its AWESOME stories :), for its applicable teachings y warnings about situations that we face in the world today, and for the many confirmations I have y continue to recieve through the Holy Ghost as to its truth y divinity. I know the Book of Mormon is true and that anyone that reads it will be greatly blessed in their lives!

Anyways, that´s all for this week. Once again very exhausted y feeling a bit yucky all day... so hoping to take advantage of this last hour or so of Pday to get some rest even though I´ve got several buckets of soapy clothes to rinse y hang to dry.... I love you all and can´t wait to hear from you all next week!

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

General Conference

Dear family y friends!

Very exhausting week! Hope to have some time this afternoon to take advantage and rest a bit. The weather has been very nice besides a big rainstorm yesterday morning, y we enjoyed some pretty cool lightning storms last night! Very crazy to see the snow falling in Utah at conference!

Can´t think of a better way to spend a birthday in the mission then having General Conference! Hard to believe it was my last conference here in the mission... but at the same time it was sure nice thinking I will be watching the next conference from HOME! It was fun to see the other missionaries as well as many members/investigators all in the same place! For the first time in my mission we also had permission from Pres. Stapley to go to the Priesthood Session which started at 9:00pm, on the condition that we had a member who could drive us home in their car. Staying for the priesthood session meant missing out on Birthday Cake at a members house... but it was well worth it and they ended up inviting us over LAST night instead. They also prepared some tasty empanadas and I also tried another weird food which apparently is a delicacy here... Cow tongue. I had heard about it before from other missionaries who told me that it wasn´t that bad. Apparently they boil it and serve it with a garlic sauce... and it actually was pretty tasty!

We only had 1 investigator show up to General conference which was very disappointing. It is always very sad for me to see how FEW people actually go to listen, especially after having spent the last several weeks inviting EVERYONE to go. Luckily Darío showed up for several of the sessions y seemed to enjoy it a lot! The one investigator that showed up is the grandson of the new inactive family we have been working with for the last several weeks who came with both his grandparents. It was a great opportunity to fellowship them, and luckily the members all got involved y invited them to drink mate with them and they seemed to enjoy themselves between sessions. On the way out I asked the hermana if she had enjoyed the conference y she told me they would for sure be back next Sunday to go to church! Even though it was sad not seeing more people at the conference, it sure was a great blessing y spiritual boost for all of us who WERE there to hear the inspired words of those "ministering angels".

Unfortunately I don´t have my conference notes with me to share more thoughts that stood out to me from conference. It was very interesting to me how many talks focused on the family and the importance of getting married in the temple... but maybe that just stood out to me since that will be one of the next steps I will be taking in my life in the not too far distant future! Also enjoyed the thoughts that were shared about missionary work of course! :) Great inspiring words that will help me to make these last couple months of my mission the best 4 months of my life!

Anyways, sorry this is short this week! Thank you for all the birthday greetings y as always for your prayers and support! I love you all!

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, March 28, 2011

Last General Conference in the Mission!

Dear family y friends,

The fall weather here is just about as unpredictable as fall in Utah. One day it will get pretty hot, and the next day freezing cold. I am still preferring the COLD weather, y I think all this back y forth hot cold hot cold with the weather has me coming down with a bad cold. :( Hot, cold, rain, wind, sickness, tiredness... the work must go on! y overall we had a really busy, but satisfying week!

Started off the week good Tuesday morning with a Zone Breakfast before we had district meeting. We all got together in the church y the zone leaders cooked us waffles y french toast. First time in 19 months that I have eaten waffles... y they sure were tasty! Instead of messing with trying to make maple syrup like last time we got together, we ended up just putting Dulce de Leche on everything which was very tasty anyways. :) This week it was my turn for the first time in 4 weeks to teach the workshop in District Meeting... y it actually went really well. The Assistants to President Stapley were there y Elder Cockriel came to be with my district. Everyone participated really well y I enjoyed the discussion y learned a lot as well!

I actually spent several days outside of my area this week doing intercambios with the 2 companionships in my District. They actually both work in the same city y share the biggest ward in the Stake of Quilmes. Tuesday after district meeting Elder Knowles y I went back to his area. They have had a rough past couple of weeks y have been companions in the same area for almost 4 and a half months. (Very long time to be with the same companion...) I actually knew Elder Knowles a little bit beforehand since we were in the same zone in Avellaneda, but this was my first chance to get to work with him y it was fun getting to know him a little better. We had a really good experience contacting a reference from another area where they give us the name and address of someone who is interested in listening, y any other details they feel like including. In this case, the person we found happened to live at the same address y have the same name... but was NOTHING like the description they gave us. She told us she had never talked with missionaries before y hadn´t ever heard much about the church. We talked with her for a minute outside her house y just as we were about to leave her husband got home from work y invited us in to talk. We had a great chat with them about the Book of Mormon y they seemed really excited to learn more. Wednesday around lunch time we switched back with our companions y I spent the afternoon working in our area.

Early Thursday morning it was off to Gutierrez again to work with Elder Gonzalez, and to do several baptismal interviews they were needing for this Saturday. I also knew Elder Gonzalez right when he got to the mission when I was serving in the Coast y he was being trained in an area near by. He is a very hard worker y they are having a lot of success in their area. Thursday y Friday just happened to be random holidays here so the buses were running very behind y we ended up losing a lot of time waiting. Also it took about 3 hours to do the interviews of a part member family. The father is a member, y his wife Sandra y daughters Carolina (13), Camila (12) y Erika (10) were the ones getting ready to be baptized! They are great people y as always it was a great experience getting to know them. I was suprised y impressed to hear about the sacrifice they make each Sunday to walk 30 blocks to church, but as we talked I felt their testimonies and desires to be baptized y follow the example of Our Savior y realized that they knew WHY they made the effort to be in church each week.

In the time I was able to work in my area this week we were able to visit la familia Palavecino. This weekend my companion and I decided to fast for them because the father is having a really hard time giving up the other church y is holding the rest of his family back. We passed by their house yesterday morning to go to church together y the father came out y told us he had to go to work so they wouldn´t be able to go, but promised that they would all be there next week for General Conference. He is a very good man, we just keep hoping y praying that he will have a change of heart y recognize the blessings that are awaiting him y his family in the church.

Another one of our investigators is also being a little difficult. (though I suppose no one said missionary work would be easy...) His name is Oscar, y his Wife y daughter are both members. He goes to church EVERY week y always says his prayers y reads the scriptures. My companion has been teaching him ever since he got to the area (6 months ago), but for a lot of that time he was in the Coast for the summer supervising a property they rent there. Even while they were on "Vacation" he went to church every week! The only problem is he won´t commit to baptism y we have tried everything we know to try to figure out what his doubt or concern is. All he ever tells us is that he wants more TIME to think about it y learn more. This week we had a really good talk with him and he agreed to be baptized on April 9th... but I almost feel he just accepted it so we would stop bugging him about getting baptized. My comp is especially excited about the idea of baptizing him since it is likely that April 9th will be his last Saturday in the area since we have transfers the following Monday.

Good day at church yesterday. Somehow I was able to avoid giving a last minute talk and the Bishop called on my companion instead while I was talking with some new people that I hadn´t seen in the ward before. In my goings about I actually found 2 people who weren´t members. One who was visiting with a friend, and the other, Leonel (21), who was visiting with his Uncle who is an inactive member of the other ward that we share the church with. I sat with Leonel during sacrament meeting and introduced him to several of the young single adults afterwards. He seems pretty excited about the church y we have an appointment tomorrow to hopefully teach him and meet the rest of his family!

Anyways, thats all for this week! Enjoy general conference this weekend y I can´t wait to hear some of your thoughts next week!

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, March 21, 2011

Saludos de Argentina

Dear family and friends,

Another great week here in Argentina. The weather has been very pleasant y it seems like the summer heat is finally gone for good! Had a great morning cleaning the pension y doing some laundry (I have really come to enjoy washing my clothes by hand!) y excited to finally sit down and relax, y best of all to hear from and write to all of you!

This week we have started working with a less active member that my companion found one day on intercambios with Elder Sanchez. La Familia Palavecino - Jorge is the father, the mom Argemina, Nadia (18), Belén (15), Ariel (13), Priscila (10) y Nahuel (9). The parents y 2 daughters were baptized several years ago in Guernica y shortly after moved to the Province of Santiago where they pretty much lost contact with the church. They lived about 4 hours from the nearest chapel there, so they decided to attend an Evangelist church near by to be sure that their children were raised with the teachings of Jesus Christ in their lives. When they moved back here to Berazategui, they continued attending a branch of the Evangelist church here that they had been with for the past several years. They recieved us VERY well in their home y are great people! The mother is already set on coming back to the church, but the father is having a little harder time. We have passed by several this weeks and are reteaching the lessons from PMG y helping them remember the things that the missionaries had taught them before. The father admitted that he has all the doctrine confused in his head, but that he has great desires to follow God y knows that He is there to answer and guide him. They also have their son and several grandchildren who haven´t been baptized yet. We are excited to get them involved with the members y they will be a great addition to the ward!

Yesterday in Church Darío was suposed to be ordained a Priest, but he ended up not even showing up! Apparently he had gone to a Young Single Adults activity y dance on Saturday y some friends there had invited him to their ward for some reason. Also, apparently he had gotten in a fight with his family y didn´t stay with them this weekend like he usually does, but he at least said that he won´t let that get in the way of his going to church,etc. Obviously we hope they can get things resolved! We were a little shocked at the news, but content that at least he went to church! We had to explain to him that it is very important that he goes to the ward where he belongs, ESPECIALLY to be able to recieve the priesthood. We had a great lesson with him about the priesthood this week, although he felt a little bummed about not being able to recieve the Melchizedek priesthood right away. He is pretty excited y destermined on preparing to serve a mission!

On Friday we had Zone Conference in Adrogue... which meant waking up extra early to be able to make the 2 hour train trip. Always great to learn from y be with Pres. y Hna. Stapley as well as the other missionaries. We talked a lot about chapter 6 in preach my gospel about developing "Christlike Attributes" y several missionaries were called on randomly to give the 5 minute talk that we all had to prepare before hand speaking about one of those attributes. Even though I didn´t get called on, I enjoyed y learned a lot preparing that talk. After lunch, we have the tradition of singing happy birthday to all the Elders y Hermanas who have birthdays during the 2-3 months between conferences, so this time it was my turn! It was extra special this time because they sang the birthday song in 3 different languages... Spanish, English, y Portuguese for the new Elder that arrived from Brasil y is serving in Wilde (y Hna Stapley who speaks portuguese)! So that was pretty cool... then on top of that we got a tasty chocolate rice crispy treat, homemade with love from Hna. Stapley!

Anyways, that’s all for this week! Can´t wait to hear from you all again soon! ¡Cuidense!

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, March 14, 2011

FW: A very "HOT y COLD" week

Dear family y friends,

Wow, already half way through March. Things are FINALLY starting to cool down here yesterday y today, but the last week was very hot y humid! Crazy how the seasons change here... but we´ll see if the cooler weather lasts or if we still have a couple hot days ahead. It was great hearing from several more of you this week and I am hoping to be able to write you all back so I´m going to try to keep this short.
Started off the week with a great Pday. We invited the other Elders in our district over to our pension to do an Asado (BBQ) y it turned out really well. None of us really knew what we were doing... but there we were with 4kg ($150) of meat (chorizo, vacio, tapa de asado, cosquillas), a 5kg bag of charcoal and a parilla and all we had to do was find someway to get the meat cooked. I got the fire started to heat up the coals y we left the Argentines in charge of cooking the meat. It only took 30 seconds leaving the meat unattended as we were all inside for the meat to catch fire, y if the neighbors hadn´t walked in right then we might not have even been able to save it. (We heard them all upstairs laughing afterwards...) Other than that everything turned out really tasty and we had a good time talking y even had some time to play some Uno afterwards.

Thank you for the late warning on being careful what I eat mom! :P Apparently something must have not gotten cooked enough Monday, because I spent Tuesday y Wednesday very sick in the pension. (somehow all the other elders were just fine) Luckily I was able to at least leave in the afternoon to go to the church for lessons with Darío finishing up the lessons to prepare him for his baptism. He listens y understands everything so well and was very well prepared y excited to get baptised! He suprised us with his understanding y testimony of the Restoration y Joseph Smith since it had been several weeks since we had taught it, but as we were talking about the commandments he went off about how "everybody has there own way of interpreting and living the commandments and thats why it was so important that God called a prophet in these last days to help us know the way HE wants us to do things to prepare us to be able to return to live with him." He also talked about how he wants to serve a mission... and he asked us if he would have an opportunity to share his testimony after his baptism. We were both shocked, but of course very happy y excited to see that he had so many desires to continue learning and share what he had found with other people. Friday we had the interview which he passed y he asked me to baptize him.

Saturday we had the baptism y everything actually turned out PERFECT. We actually had the baptism in the morning, which was a first for me, so we had to be there extra early (7 am) to start filling up the font. Taking pictures before the service was pretty cool. It was a pretty overcast day but as we were taking a pic with the fam the clouds parted and the sun shone through on the 3 of us standing. My comp leaned over to Darío y said "looks like God wants to say hello". My comp conducted the meeting, I played the piano, 2 of Daríos sisters gave talks, the Bishop y his wife gave a welcome to the ward, and Darío had his moment to share his testimony. He shared his story about how he found the church through his family, his testimony of the restoration, his desires to always stay faithful, and said everyday he finds something new that he loves about the church. That morning y afternoon there was also an Institute activity there in the church, so it was great for him to have some new friends there for his baptism, y he ended up staying all afternoon playing ping pong, fooseball, eating food, y for the dance that evening.

Sunday was his confirmation y Darío got there even before we did to have an interview with the Bishop to prepare him to be ordained a Priest next week. We were also suprised to have Pres. Stapley show up to our ward, so it was very cool for him to be there and talk a little bit with him. The talks were perfect as well talking about missionary work y one of the hermanos shared his story about how he found the church when he was 23 years old (same age as Darío) y how he prepared y served a mission in Córdoba. Presidente y Hermana Stapley also shared their testimonies y put in a good word of us about how the members need to give us more people to teach y baptize! That afternoon apparently it was my companions turn to get sick and he spent the afternoon y a good part of the night throwing up in the pension.
Anyways, thats it for now! I love you all! Hope you have a fantastic week.

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, March 7, 2011

FW: ¡Hoy festejamos CARNAVAL! [Today we celebrate Carnaval!]

Dear family and friends,

OK so we are not really going to celebrate Carnaval in the same crazy way the people celebrate here, (I imagine late at night with lots of alcohol y plenty of mischief to go around) but we are getting together as a district to do an ASADO this afternoon! :) Still having some HOT y HUMID weather here in Buenos Aires. I am very ready for it to start to cool down. Not sure what inspired so many of you to write me this week but I sure can´t complain, it was GREAT to hear from you all! I hope to get the chance to respond to each of you today, but we´ll see what the time allows.
Started off this week with a very laid back p-day, followed by a Noche de Hogar with the Familia Silva (A widowed mother with 12 kids from 3-26 years old). The girls invited a non member friend y we had a great lesson/discussion with everyone. After the lesson came the food... Apparently in Paraguay they have a tradition of eating the heads of animals, and Monday night they happened to prepare a pigs head to eat. Not sure exactly how they prepared it... but they had it set out on the table on a platter y they passed around forks and knives for everyone. Almost immediately after we said "amen" you could hear the clanking of forks and knives as 20 plus hands went in for the attack to pick off some head meat. My comp and I sat back to observe until one of the sons passed us a plate with the lower jaw bone to pick at. The little meat there was was actually very tasty y pretty much tasted like Pork. After about 15 minutes of picking at the meat on the outside of the head one of the sons opened up the skull with a knife to get to the brain. After seeing the steam come out with an unpleasant smell I don´t know HOW I accepted the invitation to try a bit of the brain... but I did it! Everyone laughed at me because I gagged several times getting it down.... I don´t think it was THAT bad really, but the texture killed me! AT least I got lots of pictures to document my experience.

Thursday and Friday this week we had a special Capacitacion for all the District y Zone leaders in the mission with Pres. Stapley in Adrogue. Wednesday evening we got together with another district leader in the zone who stayed in my area with me for the 2 days of the capacitacion while our comps went back to his area. The meetings were GREAT y it was fun seeing almost all the elders from my MTC group y catching up with them. We had about 3 hours in total travel time each day in bus y train y we were both EXHAUSTED by the end of the second day. Always impressed by the love Pres. Stapley has for all of us missionaries. The night before the capacitacion he hardly slept because he recieved a suprise phone call saying that he had 4 missionaries on the way down here that would arrive the next day that he had not heard anything about beforehand. He is and has already made some BIG changes in the mission y we are already seeing some of the results.

Saturday we had a special lunch appointment with my companions mom. She called Pres. Stapley Monday to ask for permission to see her son (she is not a member) y he told us it would be ok to eat lunch with her. She flew in from Cordoba that morning y had several hours here in Buenos Aires before she had to fly out to Cuba for a conference she had to go to. Apparently she came here around Christmas time as well, so it wasn´t really anything new for my comp. Very nice lady! She was VERY against the church when my comp was recieving the discussions y even when he left on the mission. Now she is recieving the missionaries y going to church and as we sat down to eat she even offered to say the prayer! I think he was pretty content to see her progress y luckily he took it really well and it didn´t make him homesick or anything. She also brought us several boxes of tasty Alfajores from Cordoba. :)

Yesterday Darío came to church again and had a great experience. In Testimony meeting an Hermano who I think is from the High Council got up and spoke directly to Darío, which had me a little worried at first but it turned out to be a great blessing. He talked about how he had the same age when he came to know the church and how the gospel had changed his life completely. On top of that we also got him involved with the Young Single Adults in the ward y he seems really excited to start participating in the activities etc. All of that basically built up to the cita we had with him last night when he told us he had felt really good in church y that he made his decision that he wants to be baptized as soon as possible. We talked a little bit about baptism and what he needed to do to prepare... and my comp set the baptismal date for THIS SATURDAY! Caught me a little bit off guard, because we had talked about setting it for the 19th. We still have a lot we need to teach, but we have both felt that he is READY y will be able to make it just fine.

Anyways, thats pretty much the news for this week. Thank you for your prayers y support. I love you all!

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse

Monday, February 28, 2011

El Fin de Febrero

Dear family and friends,

Another week gone by here in El Cruce. The news about transfers today is that there is no news. Elder Castro Peña y I will be staying together another transfer. This last transfer was pretty rough with all the moving so we are looking forward to a nice tranquilo transfer y hoping to have some success! We are still having some HOT summer weather, it has been super humid lately. Hope you are all still enjoying the snow! I would love to have some of that down here!

This week I had my second EVER baptism interview that went really well. It was a lady that the Zone Leaders had been teaching named Lucy. We spent 15 min talking with everyone in her 1 bedroom apartment, then headed up to the roof to have a private place to do the interview. It was amazing to see how well prepared she was and how excited she was about her baptism and the gospel. During the interview however something came up about something she had done in the past that she felt she hadn´t truly repented of. I knew that in the case that something like that came up... Pres. Stapley had to do the interview y I couldn´t make any promises as to whether she would be able to get baptized that Saturday or not, which I knew would be very disappointing for her. From that moment on I was praying very hard to know what to say. I don´t remember exactly what we talked about but everything turned out really well and I felt that she had truly repented of what she had done. She told me several times that she had never told ANYONE in her whole life, and it suprised me to see for one that she trusted me, and 2 that she recognized the importance of being honest y prepared for the covenant she was about to make with God. Long story short, she was able to have an interview with Pres. Stapley the next day and got baptized on Saturday!!

Also some very sad news this week that I want to be brief about... but Monday night I got a call at around 230 in the morning from an Elder in my district who was spending the night with 2 other Elders while his comp went to Capital to do documents. He said that one of the Elders had left around 11 to "go to the plaza to sleep" (weird) y that he still hadn´t returned. Even weirder was that his companion let him go like it was nothing bad at all. I called the Zone Leaders several times with no response so I eventually ended up calling the Assistants (felt bad waking them up, but when it´s an EMERGENCY) who in turn called Pres. Stapley. Around 330 the Elder showed up again at the pension, so I was able to get back to sleep at least... but I know there were several people that weren´t so lucky and didn´t sleep at all that night. The next day I got a call saying that the 2 Elders that were involved were on a plane home... which was actually a big shock because one of them was one of my companions several transfers ago.

Anyways, don´t want to end on a sad note.... Yesterday we also had a cool experience. Before leaving the pension to go to church, my companion y I said a prayer that our investigators, by some MIRACLE, would be able to make it to church that day. When we got to the bus stop we were only there a couple minutes before we saw what we thought was an answer to our prayers. A returned sister missionary walking towards the stop with her inactive brother y her non member mom who is a SUPER evangelist! We had a cita with them the night before and we were thinking MAYBE something we had shared had her interested in coming to church with us. Turns out she was actually headed to a conference at her church... Little disappointing, but we didn´t give up hope. As we were greeting everyone arriving to Sacrament meeting we found that an Hermana had brought one of her friends to church that day, so we were able to talk with her a bit, as well as the daughter of another family who brought her boyfriend who we have recently started to teach! Truly an answer to our prayers. They both enjoyed the church y couldn´t have been a more perfect topic on the talks talking about the Family y preparing for the future.

Anyways, that´s all for this week. I love you all and hope you have a great week! Thank you for all your prayers and support!

les amo
Elder Ian Wheelhouse