Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Week 12: Christmas is coming, and it's not snowing.


It's Christmas already?? What is this? There is nothing like snow here. I'm slightly sad that we will not have snow for Christmas, but it's alright.

It keeps getting hotter and hotter here in Argentina, we've been working a ton this last week. Elder Tolentino and I are trying to improve a lot of things in the way we work, there is so much that I want to improve on. But in the heat, it gets really hard the days that we have appointments that fall through, I've been bringing 2 water bottles with me throughout the day to keep from getting dehydrated. It's really really nice now in our pension that we have air conditioning, makes it so nice when we go to bed not to be covered in sweat. 

This last week has been really great. It started out the first day in our new pension, we wake up in the morning to no electricity or water. That's alright, we were able to talk to the renter and we could bathe in another empty apartment. We got power back that night, but we haven't been able to cook very much all week until literally last night/this morning, I was able to continue to make a smoothie some of the days though, so that was really nice. 

We had another Capilla Abierta the other day, it went smoothly, it was for another area in our zone, so we went in the morning to help out to invite a lot of the old investigators or less active members, as well as anyone we could talk to in the street. It was really good, and then that night we had the ward Christmas party. It was really different than what I was used to, but it was good. The food they had a was a little under planned, so not everyone ate as much as they wanted, but the food that they had was amazingly delicious. As well, the missionaries of our ward along with the young men and young women. We sang in front of everyone, in case you didn't know, latins... can't really sing. They are pretty much tone deaf. Haha! But it was great, all of us tried to sing, and we just sung it out loud and it went well(ish). 

As well Elder Tolentino and I, we did a Family Home Evening in the church this last week. It was really good. We talked about Christmas time and all the traditions that we have as families and as friends, and also some people talked about how they don't like Christmas because we are expected to be with our families, but hey that's alright, they can have their opinions as well. But we talked about how it is really important, that not only that we not only remember the Christmas season, but that we also remember that Christ was born. That he came to this earth, lived, died, and was resurrected for us. And if we can just remember Him everyday, at least for a minute, we will have more joy in our lives. It's great that we remember Him now during this time of the year, but also we should be thinking about Him for the rest of the year as well. 

They've got a few different traditions here in Argentina, on the night of the 24th, everyone stays up until midnight, then they open presents and eat a huge dinner, then they sleep until around 3 in the afternoon. Also, they always eat asado!!! The meat here is the best thing ever. We eat a lot of chicken too, but if someone makes us asado for lunch, it is the best!

But anyways, I hope all of you have a great holiday! Christmas and New years! All is well, all is happy! We've been sharing this message with everyone as well. To help us remember why we celebrate Christmas, and why we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, if you go to www.christmas.mormon.org you can find a video that explains it all. And you should all do it right now! Because you are on your computer! It's only 2 minutes! Do it!

Elder Slack
Argentina Buenos Aires South Mission

Merry Christmas!


Here we are singing!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 11: Moving day

These past few days have flown, especially since I only wrote on last Wednesday. Literally though, the time as a missionary is so short, everyday feels like minutes and weeks like seconds. I'll be home before I even know it, so I'm trying to use the time I have to learn everything that I can and to become the best missionary that I can!

It has been a little different over the past few days. The missionary work is going really well, just the other day we started working with 3 new investigators, who are all really interested in the Gospel, now we just have to pray and hope that they will be able to feel the spirit testify to them of the truth of this gospel and that they will see the blessings in their lives!

This is also the start of my second transfer! Crazy! One transfer gone! Just like that! We got a call on Saturday, and... Elder Tolentino and I will both be staying here in Gonzalez Catán for another 6 weeks, at the least! Also, Elder Tolentino is now our new District Leader! I'm trying to convince him that we should do a picnic for our District activity, but I'm not sure that he likes the idea to much. But things are a changing.

We moved pensions today, from our so beloved box of a pension to a newer multi-roomed pension, with very light blue walls! Also, bonus, it has a tiny air conditioning unit for our sleeping room, yeah! But we heard the news that we would probably move last week, they told us that we would be moving within the next 2 weeks (ish). So, we waited for them to call us back with a more specific time of when we were going to move, and we tried calling them a few times, and what happened? Well we haven't heard anything, it's about  10:15 last night, we are getting ready to go to bed and the phone rings... It's the pensionaros (missionaries who manage where we are going to live). You're moving tomorrow morning, pack everything. Yay! So we got the wonderful opportunity to stay up until about 2:30 in the morning, packing all of our stuff, then we woke up this morning at 6:30 and continued to pack away all of the stuff of the pension into our suitcases, and what little boxes we could find. We moved everything into a big van around 12 and then went to the other pension where we dump everything off, and unpack almost nothing, and now we're here! P-day, ya fue. 

But it's been an interesting week to say the least, I had my first experience with an Evangelica (Don't remember the English translation for that) member this week,  we had an interesting lesson with her where she talked almost the entire time, then she asked if we could close with a prayer, so we say yes of course! Starts out pretty normal, but then she starts doing some sort of chant and gets louder every time, and then goes up to each one of us and is chanting loudly at Elder Tolentino and the young adult who was with us, and then comes up to me, and is chanting at me, she puts here hand on my shoulder, and chants at me for probably a little over a minute. And in that moment, as I tried not to move a muscle, in my mind I began praying for protection, and that this sister could understand the truth someday.

But that's all, for now, lot's of good is happening! Christmas is coming soon, and it's really warm and really humid.

Love you all

-Elder Slack

Packing all night

Zone leader going away

 sweaty and tired, but pleased, after we moved everything

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Week 10: Faith, Determination, and Passion

Hello to everyone!

I'm really loving it here in Argentina, I'm just about finished with my first transfer! Crazy! We'll find out Saturday who's getting transferred and stuff, but odds are I won't change because I'm in training, So Elder Tolentino and I should be together for at least one more transfer! 

Elder Tolentino and I have been working really hard, it's been a little different this past week, we had our Capilla abierta on Saturday and Elder Tolentino I'm dressed in all white, because we talked about Baptism, and in the church we baptize in white. And I hope you can see me, in the middle, smiling as usual! 
The Capilla abierta- I am in the middle, in white with the "smile!"
But anyways, it was a very different activity. We had all of the missionaries in our zone come and we did like a white out? I don't know how to translate it into English, but  we had the missionaries go out all over our ward, and search for different less active members. Then later in the day we had kind of a tour of the church building, where we talked about different things and beliefs that we have in the church. It started out a good day. We put a ton of work into making the maps and stuff for the other missionaries to go out and work in our area, and it was a little discouraging the results, because we didn't get as many references and not as many of the less actives came as we wanted to. But it was great. We had some fun and I learned a lot.

Also, there are a few Elders and Hermanas going home next week, crazy! I've been thinking a lot about how fast the time goes. Honestly it flies by. And I've been talking to a few of the missionaries who have been out for a while now and asked them if they have any advice/ any things that they regret that they wish they had done that I should do. And several of them said that I should work all of the time. I've been told several times that if you are working the time flies by, and if the time feels like it is going slow, then you must not be working hard enough and need to rethink how you are working. So I've been trying to think about that more often, trying to work all of the time. Not that I want the time to go fast, because I love it here! But because I want to work as hard as I can, and I learn so much more when I'm working. 

Yesterday, we had an amazing Zone Meeting. One of our Zone leaders, Elder Tolentino and I live right next to the Zone leaders (if you don't remember). They are both really amazing missionaries. Since I am in training, Elder Tolentino is my papi, and I am his hijo, and then I kind of think of the Zone Leaders like my tios (uncles). They've taught me so much as well as Elder Tolentino, about working hard and how I can progress everyday, and how I shouldn't be afraid of anything on the mission. But anyways, one of them was talking, and he said there are 3 things that we should have in the mission. Faith, Determination, and Passion. And he talked to us about passion, how we need to not only share the Gospel and share our testimonies, but we need to, as well, share how much it means to us, not just say words, but as you say them. If what you are saying is really true, people can really tell that it means something and the spirit will be even stronger. 

We had one of my favorite lessons this week, with a family. The daughters are both baptized, but both are inactive now. So we've been working a little bit with them, and also their mother. But we we're talking the other day, and we invited the daughters to go back to church. They both starting saying "I don't want to go to your church, I actually don't want to go to any church" And we tried to explain a few things, but the girls kept saying that and then their mom started getting a little frustrated with us and started questioning "why are you even here? They've already heard all the other Elders before, and they just said they don't want to go. I don't want to go to your church" And the mother was rambling a little bit, I didn't understand quite all of it, but She said she didn't want to go to our church about 5 times. So we were sitting there and I was thinking, what can we do? I was a little panicked at this point, because I know how much they will be blessed if they do return to the church. Elder Tolentino decided to promise them if they go to the church this Sunday they will receive an answer that this is the true church, and then the mother started saying we don't want to go. Then a question popped into my head. And I asked the mother "You've said about 5 times that you don't want to go to our church, you said that about 15 minutes ago, so what I'm wondering is... What do you want??" and then Elder Tolentino had to clarify a little bit of my broken Spanish, and he said "My companion wants to know, what do you want in your life?" And she sat there for a second, and was very quiet. And then I started to talk about how we, as missionaries, leave our families for 2 years. And it's just like us leaving our Heavenly Father. And the goal for all of us is to return and live with him once again. And we explained a little bit about the Plan of Salvation. And the Spirit was so strong and it was amazing. And then at the end of the lesson, we said a prayer, and we are getting up to leave and the Mother asks "So when can you come back?" YES! We were so happy after that lesson, the Spirit really does work wonders.

My birthday happened this week, yes I am now 19. And yes, I didn't do anything to special. We spent all day Monday at a Capilla Abierta for another area, in Ponte Vedra. They gave me a sweet mug that says Argentina and Buenos Aires on it though. And when we returned to the pension that night, I decided to reward myself and eat 19 birthday crackers! And Elder Tolentino gave me a mini muffin. So yeah, that was my birthday.

This week has been really great, we got to go to the temple too! It was amazing, I've learned so much. Until Monday!

-Elder Slack

Smoothies are the best!!
Cleaning the pension
Birthday fun!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Week 9: (no title)

Hey! I'm here again! I hope you all have had another amazing week even though I'm not in your lives!

Things have been pretty interesting here in Argentina, the election is over, we're still missionaries, you know, nothing really big. This past week has been all over the map. From rainy days to sick days. But all another day in the life of a missionary!

This past week we had another Capilla Abiertta (Open Church) , church tour, in our Zone. All of the missionaries in our zone went over to another area and we went out and advertised all over the area for people to come and see the church and see what we believe and what we do in the church, it was really good. That took all day Saturday, and then this week we've been planning for our Capilla Abierta here in Catán 3! Elder Tolentino and I have been planning a lot and trying to figure out where all of the members (active and inactive) live so that we can send out the missionaries to go find them and invite them all back to the church, and also the same with all of the old investigators. We're hoping for a good turn out Saturday, but we'll see. 

I got sick this past week on Wednesday, we couldn't leave the pension because I was kind of half dying. So I layed on my bed all day while Elder Tolentino worked on the list of names for our Capilla Abierta. Then that night we had to travel to another area, Adrogué because I had to go do a bunch of Visa papers the next day. So we traveled 2ish hours by bus and I was praying that I wouldn't throw up the whole time, and yay! I didn't. We slept in the Adrogué elders pension. Slept, then the next day woke up, and that is when I threw up. Then we traveled around all day with a bunch of other new missionaries as we went to different places to fill out visa forms and stuff. Whoo! What a party right! Eventually we returned back to our pension where I was able to sleep and rest and I was fine by the next day!

Today we had a Zone activity, our Zone is all Elders, because the majority of the areas here in the Zone aren't um.... suitable, one might say, for Hermanas. So we played some futbol, and ate a ton of Churi Pan, (Sp?) Which is this amazing asado sausage on bread with some ketchup or chimichuri sauce, good stuff. 

Other than that, the week has been pretty normal. We've been out searching a ton so that we can find new investigators. But we're having a little bit of trouble right now. Almost all of our appointments fell through this week, and we taught probably 4 lessons, granted we couldn't do anything for 3 of those days because I was sick and the capilla abierta. But I've been getting really good at contacting people though. The language is coming extremely fast, the gift of tongue's is amazingly real. I feel like if I didn't have it for one day I would be completely lost all day with what's going on. But we've been searching so much this past week. And we had this one day, where all of our appointments fell through. We had a member with us and everything and they all fell through. So we decided to go out finding. So we were knocking some doors and doing some street contacts, but for about 2 hours we had found no one, everyone was either to busy or didn't want to talk to us, or not home. As we were walking to go find in a different area, Elder Tolentino and I started talking. He said he had asked the President, because we've been searching for investigators for 2 weeks, why he thinks we haven't been able to find anyone. He said the president said that we need to have more faith. At that moment I realized what all of my thoughts were. Every time we would talk with someone or every time we would knock a door, I didn't believe that we were doing any good. I didn't believe that we would get anywhere by talking to the person. At this moment I realized what was happening. I was getting what I expected. All along I had been thinking we would get nothing, and we got nothing, then I would ask in my mind "why can't we find anyone?" I realized how important it is to have faith, how important it is to believe that you are going to find someone, how important it is to believe that the person you talk to is going to let you in, or make an appointment. We have to believe that the best is going to happen or God cannot reward our Faith, because we have none.

Anyway's, just a thought of what I learned this week. Also I remembered that my companion shaved all of his hair off. He got a haircut last week, and paid 50 pesos for it in a barber shop. I don't think the people in the barber shops know any more about cutting hair than I do. Because it was horrible. So he tried to fix it with the Zone leaders cutters, but messed it up even more, so they just cut it all off. I've heard it's about to get a lot hotter, so I guess that'll help haha!

That's all! Yours, always smiling
-Elder Slack

Elder Tolentino's haircut

How I take pictures of me when I'm sick