April 24, 2010
May 1, 2010
Hi family and friends!
Wow, I can`t believe that it`s already the 10th of May. Time flies by so fast and in 10 days I will have a year on the mission and be halfway done. That is absolutely incredible to think about. It seems like only yesterday that we were saying goodbye at the MTC. This next year will fly by even faster I am sure and I`l be home to play games wih you again and everything. I love playing the dice game and that will be one of the first things we play I`m sure. It was SO good to talk to all of you yesterday. It`s so much easier to express who I am and everything that`s hapening over phone rather than through e-mail. I`m sure it will be even easier in person, then I can throw in hand actions and everything. People are very animated when they talk here in Argentina. There`s been a few times where Antonio has gotten off his seat to start dancing around and acting something out that he is saying. It`s always very entertaining when he does that and I hope to imitate that when I come home from my mission.
Anyway, as for what happened this week, let`s get down to business.
Monday was way fun! We got a lot of things done that we needed to get done and played soccer with the missionaries on the cement soccer court behind the church. They call them canchas de 5 (5 courts, so there can be 5 players at a time on each team). That was pretty fun! I`m getting better at soccer and will probably play for Real Salt Lake when I get home (maybe we`ll make a rec league team called Real Salt Lake or something). Anyway that`s besides the point.
Tuesday we ran into a new kid late at night that we invited to come play soccer with the other youth in the church. We were trying to get a hold of his dad, but they said he always leaves and walks around at night and is never home. I don`t think he goes out and drinks or anything, I just think he enjoys walking around at night and winding down. The dad is an incredible guy and I hope to get to say bye.
Oh yeah, this is just a side note, but just so everyone knows I am finally leaving Alvear this Wednesday. I`ve been here roughly 6 months and absolutely love it here. The members are incredible and the area is beautiful. Lot`s of farms and a small city...kind of like Lindon, but less urbanized (hey that was a good word). Anyway I am moving to an area called San Martin in a city called Palmyra. I know, I love it! Palmyra, New York. Palmyra, San Martin. What`s the difference. I`ll have to tell people that Joseph Smith lived in Palmyra for a time. They might think I`m talking about Palmyra, San Martin. That would be funny; it would definitely grab their attention. I guess afterwards I could tell them was Palmyra, New York.
Anyway this youth`s name is Brian and I hope he comes around, he in an incredible guy! We walked with him to the chapel and talked to him a lot. He is 13 years old and has a pretty sharp mind. His family is naturally intelligent I think.
Wednesday my companion got sick and we stayed in the Pench most the day. But we got a lot of cleaning done and got ready for the big move...stay tuned.
Thursday we went and visited Mercedez for the first time after her baptism. She is just glowing and I know she has the Spirit with her. She feels so calm and confident about life and I see big changes happening in Diego and Mercedez`s life in the future.
Friday we went and visited another 13 year old named Ariel. His mom is an active member now and his sister just got baptized last Saturday (photo inculded as well as the photo of Mercedez`s baptism from last week). He is a stud and will come along. It`s hard for him to listen to us but he has a cousin that is a member of the church that I think will make it more comfortable for him. I hope the new Elders that come (one of which is named Elder Lebron...pretty cool huh? Lebron James did not convert to the church, but this Elder Lebron is from Clevland, OH and does play basketball really well. He wants to walk onto BYU`s basketball team when he gets back from the mission; he`s awesome!) do a good job with him.
Saturday the Hermana`s had a baptism and we got to participate and help out a lot. I got to sing a song during the interlude time when the person who baptized and the baptizee are changing; I had a good time! We also moved Saturday!!! How fun is that! We have a new pench now, and now I am leaving. It will be fun to enjoy the new pench for three days before we leave.
I love you all, I know the church is true. The gospel will bless your life if you let it. The Book of Mormon is true. Joseph Smith told the truth. Love you all! Bye!
Monday, May 10, 2010
Posted by Ben at 7:16 PM
May 3, 2010 Time in General Alvear winding down. A truck with a loud speaker selling live chickens out of the back of it. :)
Yes, I know in the subject that it looks like mayo...like mayonase (sp?) but it really means May. Anyway, how is everyone doing today! I hope well! This week was incredible yet again! We had the baptism of Mercedez Pichel and it was incredible (hence the reason the week was incredible). There were tons of people there because it was a combined baptism with the other ward and it was really special. Our recent convert Antonio Pichel gave a talk on the Holy Ghost and really grew a lot! It was uncomfortable for him to stand up in front of so many people and give a talk, but he did it. I think it was the first time that he had done it. I feel like my time here in General Alvear is winding down. I have been here for five, almost six months, which is normally about the maximum amount of time that someone stays in one area. So I will find out on Sunday night or Monday afternoon where I will be going, or if I will be going and what the other changes in the mission are. It`s been so much fun to be here!
I love the area, love the members and have so much fun every day! It`s missionary work, so that does mean that it`s work, but when you love the work you don`t work a day in your life right? I hope I can find something like that when I get back home.
This week has been so much fun with Elder Wilson. He asked a question about a little car that had a giant loudspeaker on top. He wanted to know what it was...legitimate question I think. I told him about a time in Colonia Bombal, my first area, where I saw a giant truck like that with chickens in the back and a voice blazing over the loudspeakers. They were selling live chickens out of the back of the truck and the person in the car was selling something I`m sure.
Anyway, my time is running short, I am excited to talk to every one of you this Sunday and we will talk to you soon! Bye Familia!
Posted by Ben at 6:35 PM
So we didn`t move penches this week but it is in the works. We should move in the middle of this week. It should be pretty fun! I feel like this pench thing has been going on for quite a while now, but it`s been good, we`re ready to move.
It`s so good to have another chance to write you this week. This week has been quite the amazing week. I know that I say this every week, but I am learning a ton. There are so many experiences that happen every day that if we are open to what there is to learn, the Lord can teach us so much! We learn by experience here in this earth, it`s something that the Lord wants for us. Oftentimes it is painful, but the point is not to wallow (oh that was a good word) in the pain, but to take the experience cheerfully, with faith, looking towards the future, and apply what you learned to future experiences. Anyway, I guess that`s my little sermon to start out, but anyway I had a good week! We had the baptism of Mercedez fall through, but she wants to get baptized this upcoming week. She`ll be ready. Satan sure is doing his best to knock her out though. We`ll need to focus big time on her this week and help her progress towards baptism.
We`ve kind of been in the hunt for new people this week. We found a wonderful lady that let us teach her on her front porch on Saturday morning. When Elder Wilson was teaching her how to pray she was so receptive, just like a little kid. When Elder Wilson said, “We fold our arms when we pray and close our children…I mean eyes (hijos means children, ojos means eyes…I made the same mistake in the MTC, it gave me a good laughJ)” Anyway, when he said that, Estel, this older lady we were teaching, did the exact same. She folded her arms so tightly and closed her eyes so tightly. We hadn`t even finished explaining how to pray and she was already ready to pray. It was a good example to me of humbly following the instructions we are given. We will have to come back later in the week when her husband is not there in order to see how she is doing. She said her husband really would get mad if we were there when he was there. We`ll have to see if we can talk to her and see what happens. We gave her a Restoration pamphlet and told her to have her husband read it and that we would see miracles here. Maybe her husband`s heart will soften and be more receptive to the Holy Ghost. We`ll see what happens this week.
I have learned this week that to be a perfect missionary is impossible. I get discouraged sometimes because I can`t do everything right because I am a human being, but I know that Christ is there to forgive me and erase my sins if I trust in him. I need to be patient with myself and just do my best, always following the promptings of the Holy Ghost and being obedient to the commandments of God. We just have to do our absolute best and the Lord will make up for the rest. The Lord is happy with any effort that we make to become better and be more like Him. The blessings will come with time.
Ok, so this e-mail has been full of lots of my thoughts from this week, but I figure it will help someone. Things are going well here. I am having fun and I love being a missionary. J People yell at us, people reject us, but it`s all part of the fun! We had an experience last night that really helped me to realize that the Lord has immense blessings prepared for us if we are prepared to receive them. We were opening the mouth (talking to people in the street) and we were just about to end for the night but I felt that we needed one Open the Mouth more. So we started to talk to a young man headed the opposite direction and he was probably one of the most level headed, wonderful young men I have met here in Argentina. His name is Leonel and he doesn`t live in our area, but he was so receptive and had tons of questions. We gave him a Book of Mormon and he is genuinely interested and has many questions. He said that he has seen this missionaries a ton but this is the first time that someone has stopped and talked to him. Anyway, we`ll see what happens, but I would love to see what happens to this kid in the future. He`s incredible! I know the Lord blesses us and blesses others when we do what is right. I hope everyone has such an incredible week! Chau!!
Posted by Ben at 6:28 PM
Hello my wonderful family!
This week has been quite a learning process. I am learning more and more every day.
We had Zone Conference and President just blows me away. He is such a successful man in life and watns us to follow him in his success. Everything he doe is to prepare us for what is going to come after the mission. A thought he shared with us is that the storms are coming and they are going to get worse. This is definitely no reason to be scared, but a challenge and a reminder to prepare for what is going to come in the future. It`s fun learning more and more every day. The Lord is really teaching me...I just hope I can be a good student. :)
So, we got word this morning that we are most likely going to be moving penches tonight. If everything goes well we should be settled into our new pench in a few days. This is going to be a big blessing! I`ll send some pictures when I get in there and are able to settle in.
So these thoughts are a little bit scattered, but President yesterday in Zone Conference really opened my mind and helped me to realize how I could change things up and do better.
So, to continue the randomness of this e-mail...this week and last week have been two of the most trying and proving times in the mission. I definitely should have seen it coming with so many things going smoothe for so many months. The Lord just couldn`t let me coast now could he? This is a time to grow, a time of trial and I know I will grow immensley. I can see a little bit of that growth now and I feel that the Lord is proving me to see if I will be obedient in all the things he wants me to do. That`s what the Lord does to us. He hits us with challenges that He knows that by ourselves we cannot overcome. He knows that the only way we can overcome these challenges is to turn to Him. I think that is a purpose to our challenges in life, to learn how to come closer to Christ. Sometimes we need difficult experiences to remember that he is the One in charge and that without Him, we really cannot overcome anything. He is the Man upstairs who really sees the end from the beginning and I know He loves me.
I really should keep a journal of random experiences that happen to me here in Argentina, but the thing is that so many things that maybe when I was at home would have blown my mind are common place here. For example getting lost on the way to an appointment and walking around for about an hour in the Finkas before heading back to the city. This was actually a huge blessing! We ended up finding an investigator that was walking from his house in the finkas to the city. We decided to walk with him and he and I had an awesome chat about how the Spirit was guiding us... (ok, after we got lost, the Spirit was defintely guiding us, I know that) and how God wanted us to talk to him that night. He came to church yesterday and was way happy! I am excited for what the future holds for him.
Sunday in church Matias Pichel and his friend that just recently got baptized as well, Jorge, as well as Diego Pichel, all got presented to received the Priesthood. It is so awesome to see them progressing and see their desire to remain firm in the church. I have grown so close to this family over the past five months and I know that one of the reasons I came on a mission was to find and teach them and bring them into the gospel. I am even more excited now because Mercedez, Diego`s wife, has a goal to get baptized this weekend! We`ve got to prepare her for her baptismal interview on Thursday and then get everything ready for Saturday, but I am so happy because this is going to complete their family! Frederico who has 7 years (yes that is a very spanish way to say that phrase, but we`ll leave it like that) really wants to get baptized and if his family continues faithful, he`ll be baptized and raised in the church, as well as their little baby Ingrid. I can see Matias, Pablo, Jorge, and Fredrico serving missions here in the next few years an am so excited for the happiness that their future holds. I am beginning to see the effects of the mission and I know it will only get bigger as time goes on. I am grateful for the opportunity I have been given to get to know the people here and teach them the gospel and I pray that they will continue faithful until the end so we can all meet each other after this life in the Celestial Kingdom.
I know it sounds like a lot but it`s all been on my thoughts lately and I`m excited for all this to happen. We`ll get the final preparations ready for this week, do some work, and I`ll give you the update next week.
The bread here is incredible! I LOVE the homemade bread they make here. I don`t know what makes it so incredible but I am learning how to make it today. We have an hermano in our ward that worked in a Panaderia (bakery) and he is going to teach us how to make bread and little crackers today. I am excited for that and to cook bread for everyone when I get back.
Thank you so much for the birthday package! I opened it last night and absolutey loved finding all the spciey crackers, the books of "To Eres Especial" to give out. I loved the laminated pictures of everyone`s faces. I am going to put them up on my wall so I have them all where I can see and I`ll take pictures and send them to you. I have enough fruit wraps to last me a lifetime! That was so fun to get and I love the birthday sign. I didn`t have time to get through it all last night, but you are all incredible! I love you all am so appreciative of the sacrifices you all made to get that to me, mom especially. It doesn`t matter to me that I got it late, I`m just so happy that finally I got it. Happy birthday to me! Thank you!
I love you all! Take care! Until next week,
Posted by Ben at 6:13 PM