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