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!
Elder Ian Wheelhouse