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!
Elder Ian Wheelhouse