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