Monday, July 27, 2009

Bienvenidos a Argentina

Ok, what has happened in the past few days. It sure seems like a lot has happened. So I got off the plane and Hermana Lindahl, my mission president´s wife, snapped a photo of me and afterwards, President Lindahl came up and gave me a huge hug and a welcome to Argentina. They are both so awesome and I´m excited to have them as mission presidents. We had an amazing dinner with them that night and then I slept, along with the other Elders who came with us, at the Assistant to the President´s house that night. Of course the first night I get to Mendoza it snows for the first time in like...I don´t know...quite a while. I thought it was way funny because everyone was so surprised that it was snowing. "This never happens!" Everyone kept saying that, I thought it was pretty neat. We had a little bit of training that next day and were off to our areas with our companions. The Pention or "Pench" as they like to call them here, that I live in is really nice compared to what most of the people in my area live in. Oh, my area. Ok, I´m in an area called Colonia Bombal and in the Maipu Zone. It´s about a hour outside of Mendoza and it is what they like to call the campo. It is about as farmland and out there in the boonies as you can get. There is a lot of walking because the distances between everything is so great. The people here are so nice and will talk about almost anything for hours. When we go and talk to people, we hardly even know them and they will just talk and talk and talk and talk, which I really need because I can´t understand a whole lot of what anyone is saying. It´s kind of funny when people are talking to me and I just stare back trying to figure out what they just said. I just try to communicate using body language and laugh if they laugh and nod every once in a while and really try to understand what is going on. They´re really friendly and understand that I am trying to learn the language. I´m grateful for their examples of friendliness.It´s kind of cold here, we have two space heaters in our Pench that help us stay warm. Then when we go out in the cold, we just bundle up and it´s alright. We are in the middle of winter right now and it´s not very cold compared to what the middle of the winter might be in Utah. So we´re doing well.It was actually pretty funny. I lost a glove while walking in a place where there was hardly any light, maybe I´´ll find it one day...Anyway, I´m not sure what I expected in the mission field, but it is incredible. We just go out and talk to people and spread the gospel and have a good time doing it. There´s hardships of course! But it´s going well and I´m so excited to be here. A couple of stories from the first few days.We went to teach a family that has almost nothing. The familia Barbera (Varbera en EspaƱol I think) They live in a house the equivelant of a bamboo shack with dirt floors and everything. They´re whole house is smaller than our living room by a long shot. You just walk in the door and they have a fire, a little cooking area, and two beds for the parents and their 4 little kids. We taught them about the restoration of the gospel and I was able to bear my testimony in Spanish at the end and say that even though I don´t know much Spanish, I do know that the church is true and that Jesus Christ is my Savior. I do know that and I know that the Church and the Spirit is the exact same in Spanish as it is in English. While we were teaching the feelings of the Spirit came into that house and while it may have been a little cold outside, it was so warm in that house and the feelings of love and peace that the Spirit brings were so strong. I love that the language of the Spirit is the same in all cultures and languages and I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that we have a living prophet on the earth today in President Monson.At this lesson my trainer also mentioned that we had a pretty long walk back to our Pench because we did not have a lot of bus fare money left and the mother of those children pulled out 3 pesos and insisted that we take them. I honestly didn´t know what think, they have absolutely nothing and they wanted to help us out and give us whatever they had. I have been humbled this week to realize that all these people, even though they have almost nothing would give anything to help us out. They would take the shirt off their back and give it to you if you said they needed it. I have learned to be more grateful for everything that I have, never take anything for granted, and give whenever I can, and in the case of these people, even give when they can´t give. Wow.I´m learning a lot. I´m adjusting to Argentine culture still and just trying to do my best. Please pray for those families here that are just waiting and wanting to hear the gospel. Pray for these people that are having so many challenges and just need some help.I should probably go now, but I just want to say that I love you all and that Argentina is awesome.
Take care,Elder Benjamin Hoglund

Ok Family, I think that about does it. Everything here has been a pretty humbling experience, I don´t know a lot and I rely on my good companion Elder Dustin Boudrero from Logan Utah for a lot. He´s a great companion, really patient with me and helping me out a lot in everything I don´t understand. We were talking the other day about what I would like to learn from him, and I said, "how to survive in Argentina." Without him I would be so lost. He´s an awesome companion. Anyway, I´ll write next week. I love you all and I hope to hear from you all soon.
Bye.Love,Elder Hoglund