Dear family y friends,
Wow hard to believe another transfer has gone by, y it is sad to think this could be my last week here in Wilde! I hope you all had a fantastic week y are continuing to enjoy the cold weather. :) Things have actually cooled down a bit this week with several small rainstorms, but when the sun comes out after a nice cool rain it always gets very muggy with the humidity! Our little floor fan we have in the pension to keep us cool also bit the dust this week, but luckily we were able to get permission from the offices to buy a new one y replaced it that same day with a much better one. :) There are only 2 companionships in the whole mission that I know of that enjoy the luxury of having air conditioning in their apartment... the assistants to the President, y the Elders of Tomas Flores here in Avellaneda. The mission has definitely helped me appreciate the comforts of home!
A couple interesting things from this week:
The second counselor of the bishopric here in Wilde (Hno. Juan Esponda) announced several times in each of the meetings yesterday that he will be remarrying in March this year. He is 83 years old, but it is amazing the energy y strength he has. He recently returned from a 4 month vacation in Europe where he went to the dedication of a temple in Italy (I think) and also courted his future wife "Tita" who is actually the mother of an hermana here in Wilde that lives in España. He expressed his love y gratitud to the Lord for the blessing y happiness this has brought to him at this time in his life, y that he never imagined it would happen.
Other exciting news... they announced yesterday that the temple here in Buenos Aires will be re opened starting in October or November of this year! Bummer I wont be around to see it, but it will be a great blessing to the members here who have spent the last 2 years without having a temple close by to visit. (Several wards have made trips to the temple in Uruguay, but its an expensive trip lots of members couldn't afford) Hope to be able to come back y visit the temple someday since I have only been able to see it from outside.
Yesterday we had several investigators in church... including Soledad y her 2 sons that always come, but also her "husband" Marcos came for the first time!! She is still very happy y excited about the church y its amazing to see the testimony she has gained. She has also become a HUGE strength y influence for the rest of her family. On Thursday when we passed by their house we asked Marcos if he was still planning to come to church on Sunday, because earlier in the week he told us he was going to. He acted like he didn't know what we were talking about y came up with something about how he was going to be busy doing stuff, but before we could even say anything Soledad jumped in y basically told him that he WOULD go to church this Sunday. After the meetings walking with them out to the car, without even asking what he thought, Marcos told me that he really enjoyed the meetings. He is hard to read sometimes because he is more quiet/reserved, but also he is very honest y says things how they are. Hopefully these experiences will help him see the blessings that they can receive by getting married y baptized ASAP!
ALSO, we taught their family several weeks ago about Tithing, y of course talked about the blessings y promises in the scriptures that come from living the law of the Tithe. Instead of the typical questions we get like "why do i have to give money to the church? etc., Soledad asked a question I have never heard before.... "Do you have to be baptized to be able to pay tithing?" Basically blew me and my companion away y we didn't know how to respond. We explained that when you are baptized is when you are responsible for paying your tithing, but didn't know if it was POSSIBLE to pay tithing without being a member. Anyways, that same week was when her son Lautaro (9 years old) got baptized, y this week for the first time he paid "his" tithing. The first counselor came up to us after the meetings y asked what we had taught the family about tithing... because turns out that Lautaro had paid $200, and at 9 years old we are pretty sure hes not raking in $2000 pesos. We were all amazed by the faith y desires that the family has to pay their tithing y receive the blessings the Lord has prepared for them.... y also the creative way Soledad found to pay her tithing without being a member. The counselor Hno. Espinola who is a good friend of the family said he wants to have a talk with them to make sure they understand that they are not required to pay tithing until they are baptized, but also to praise them for their great faith y desires to obey the Lord.
Anyways, that is all for this week. This afternoon I will have a bit more time to send some pics etc because our time was cut short this morning. Next week I will have news about transfers y everything! Cant wait to hear from you all soon! As always thank you so much for your thoughts y prayers in the behalf of all of us here in Argentina y missionary work in all he world!!
Elder Ian Wheelhouse