Monday, January 25, 2016

Week 17: Trainings up

Oh how the time flies here in Argentina, yesterday officially ends my training (the first 12 weeks of my mission) And things are just moving on! It's a new Transfer here! My 3rd transfer in the mission!! And we waited on Saturday for our call from the president, waited and waited, and it came!! AND............................ Elder Tolentino, he's out of here, leaving the ward of Catán 3, but he's going to be staying here in our zone, in the zone of González Catán, he's going off to Laferrere to be district leader and to train another new missionary. And me? I'll be staying here in Catán 3, and I'll be training a new missionary! Crazy right? But if the Lord thinks that I'm ready, then I'm ready!

Castellano (Español, Spanish) is going really well. I have been truly blessed with the gift of tongues, I've still got an accent of an american, but I've been so blessed to be able to say that speaking the language hasn't been a problem. So now we'll just have to wait and see who it is that I'm going to train. I go to find out who it is tomorrow in Banfield, which is is where the mission offices and everything is, could be another Latino or a "Yankee", as they call us here, or American. I'm really really excited to go find out who my new companion will be!!

As well, this past martes, we were just about to start doing our companionship study in the morning when we get a call. It's the Pensioneros (missionaries in charge of where we live) They tell us to pack our bags, because we'll be moving in 3 hours. So we did, that day we moved again, we actually just swapped pensions with some other missionaries, now we live a little bit closer to our area. We moved into the new pension and the other Elders who lived their before left it horribly dirty, so we've spent several hours during the past week to clean it all and try and get the bad odor out so that when my new companion comes he will feel a little better, and know that we aren't living in filth. 

We've been working trying to find some new investigators. Camila has had some health problems and hasn't been able to attend church, so we are hoping that we can get her to come this next Sunday, I'll be working with my new companion until we can get her all ready and everything for her baptism. I plan on working really hard with my new companion to try and work with the members a lot and find lots of new investigators and really spread the gospel here so much in our ward, we're going to try and do a few new things, so pray for me that I can do a good job training, and that we don't just end up doing nothing. 

I've learned a lot this past week about how I need to act now. When we wait to talk to someone about the gospel, when we wait to invite someone, when we wait to do anything it gives the devil more time to whisper in our ear and say, "no, you can wait and do it next time" So I'm working a lot to just go and do, the things that the Lord has commanded us to do! 

Love for everyone! Chau!

P.S. I stole a photo that Elder Tolentino took, so here is one of us learning how to make empanadas, and let me just say they were delicious!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Week 16: Rumor has it

Hey! There isn't much time, so I'll tell you the most exciting things really really fast

Saturday we attended the baptism of the daughter of a recent convert that we have been teaching, it was a little crazy because they had 3 ward baptisms that day as well, it was way awesome though.

I had an interview with my president this past Thursday, and as far as I've heard I might possibly be training a new missionary starting next week because this is the last week of the transfer and my 12th week here in Argentina!

Still haven't found my camera yet, so we'll see what's up with that, I hope that I can find it at some point. 

Elder Tolentino was sick for one of the days this past week, so we couldn't leave. But now we are all good! 

Other than that life is great as a missionary!! I love it every single day! I hope you all have a great week! 

De la Misión Argentina Buenos Aires Sur, Chau!! 

-Elder Slack

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Week 15: Every member a missionary!

Hello!! Elder Slack here again, I hope you all missed me, but didn't miss me this week! Just know that I am living here happily in Argentina! I hope the rest of you in the states don't freeze while I'm trying not to get sunburned.

This week was great, full of new adventures, I have found this week that my camera appears to be lost, I haven't seen it since new years, so sorry, but I don't have any new pictures for this week. Luckily I have the majority of the photos I took saved on my memory cards. 

This week at last is back to normal work. No holidays, no nothing. It was great to be able to have a good solid week of work again. We've been doing a lot. Elder Tolentino and I have been trying to think of new ways in which we can strengthen this ward. As I said before there are a ton of less active members. Us as missionaries we don't have permission to visit less active members just to reactivate them. They have to have someone in their house who isn't a member to be able to baptize. So we've been working with the active members of the ward a lot to be able to motivate them to go out and visit the less actives. In our ward we now have 10 ward missionaries!! They are members of the ward who are called to be missionaries for the ward for 2 years and essentially they are a micro missionary. They are more to focus on the members and help them, and as well to help us out as missionaries a little with our investigators. 

Along with the ward missionaries we are also trying to put together some activities during the week, where the members can come and participate so that they can have a little reminder in the middle of the week to come and have a little spiritual thought to be able to have some fun. As well so we can bring investigators so that they can see that we are normal people as well, not just two crazy boys who walk a lot and want to show up at their houses and talk about Christ. 

Our investigator Camila is progressing a ton!! This week she woke up herself and her kids so that they could all walk to the church with us because she doesn't have money to pay for a bus! And she was all ready to go and we went out and then we had another one of our investigators with her kids show up at church! It was the best!!!

As well our ward mission leader, Nico, he gave the best talk on Sunday, he talked about the importance of missionary work, and how missionary work isn't just for the 4 missionaries in the ward, but missionary work is for every single individual member, and that we should all look for opportunities to serve our brothers and sisters to bring them closer to Christ. It was the best!! All of the members were super willing to talk to us after church and everything, and it is awesome.

As well, we were out working yesterday, we had our plans all ready, a few appointments set with some investigators, and they fell through, so we decided to try and find a few old investigators, and none of them were home. So what do we do now?? We tried searching for about an hour or so, with once again no luck. At this point we were a little discouraged and not quite sure if we were doing things right. Then we had this brilliant thought! The members, we need to work with members. We had written down a few new families with whom we could work the following week in our weekly planning and we decided to go talk to them. We were able to find them all in their houses and share a little scripture, and then several of them committed to come and accompany us for different days of the week to help us with some of our investigators. And now we've decided to try and work with different members every week so that we can show the members all the work they can do and how they can help us and help the less actives! It was a great day!

That's all for now! Hopefully I can find my camera! Keep smiling all the time!
Has anyone told you what day it is today?? Because it is a GREAT day to be a missionary!!

-Elder Slack

Monday, January 4, 2016

Week 14: The Sky is Falling and Blessings from the Heavens

Hey! Feliz Año nuevo de Argentina!!

I hope that you all had a great time over this past week, the life as a missionary is definitely not the best on the holidays, but I loved it all the same. And now that we have full weeks we can put in more work!

On our P-day last week, after we went and emailed we went out on an adventure, the great adventure of Walmart in Argentina! It was long and hard, we searched for days and nights, through wind and snow and sleet, in jungles and mountains, and crossed a great river, but eventually we found it!! Yes I know, we found a Walmart!! Actually it was probably more like 15 minutes on a bus and 20 minutes of walking, but we actually crossed a river, a little one, on a bridge, and there was a lot of trash. But hey, It's all part of the adventure. Now you may be wondering, why would we want to go to Wal-mart while we are here in Argentina? Well I had one thing in mind! PEANUT BUTTER! And I am very pleased to say, that our mission was successful, I used my remaining funds of the month to purchase 2 very tiny, expensive, and amazingly delicious jars of peanut butter. 

The adventures of the week didn't stop there though! We had New Years this week, I hope all of you did too. If you are not yet in 2016 then you need to change something. But anyways. We spent New Years with a bunch of other Elders from our zone, we had about 10 of us. We all got together, everyone brought something and we were able to cook and eat our own asado. We didn't have a ton of meat, but it was good. We all got together in the pensions of 2 companionships of elders that are right next to each other and used the "Grill" of a member to cook it. It was great, and then at midnight once again, fireworks everywhere. New Years was even worse than Christmas, I thought Christmas was a lot. But here it started at midnight and went for about 45 minutes of non-stop explosions everywhere! It was insane!! Us Americans think we do a lot of fireworks on the fourth of July and everything, but they use probably 5 times as much here in Argentina for New Years. It was good. 

After New Years eve and New Years (when we couldn't go out to proselyte or work or anything) it was a lot better. We had a ton of appointments on Saturday and Sunday, because we couldn't put anyone on those 2 days. And It was great! We now have 3 different investigators with a baptismal date! It's so exciting!! And 2 of them went to church yesterday! We had to go out and search for Camila in the morning to bring her and her family to church,  
and we told her the night before "We're going to be here at 8:30, you need to be ready to go." We show up, still sleeping, but wait... Miracle, in 15 minutes they get all dressed and ready to go, and we leave for church the bus comes right as we are getting to the stop and we arrive at church at 9:03, not bad right!! It was the best to finally get her and see her family at church, her 2 little children found right away 2 little friends in the primary and they helped them to all their classes and everything, and after the classes when we saw Camila talking with some of the hermanas from the relief society, it was the best to see her so happy! And then in Sacrament meeting we had fast and testimony meeting, and we had the most peculiar meeting, all the people that decided to go up to bear their testimonies were couples. And they went up as husband and wife and shared their testimonies together and they talked a lot about the blessings of being with their families, and it was just the best!!

And then yesterday, we went out and had a ton of appointments all afternoon and it was good, we taught 3 lessons and have 2 new investigators. I can really tell a huge difference here when we are obeying the rules as missionaries. When we aren't being obedient to what God wants us to do he won't bless us and can't bless us. But when we are obedient and truly are doing all the things that we can to follow his commandments, he can pour out the blessings of heaven upon us! It is incredible! 

I'll wish you all a happy New Year, and I hope you all have some amazing new goals, and remember that a goal is only a wish until you write it down.

Your missionary here in Argentina
-Elder Slack

(note from Elder Slack's mom: Sorry I couldn't turn this...if you know how, email me and teach me how. Thanks!)
Here is what we ate for Christmas! Asado!!!

Week 13: ¡Feliz Navidad!

¡¡Hola a todos!!

This week was incredibly awesome, and different, and about everything that you could imagine! It's incredible! Argentina is the best!! We started out on Tuesday, we had a kind of big Christmas activity, our president came and stopped by our zone and gave all of us some alfajores and some American candy, it was delicious, and then we kind of chilled for a few hours, played some ping pong, cooked a full (a ton) of rice, made some of it into fried rice, and then we ate a ton, and it was great. I heard that the last years Christmas activity was a lot bigger and better, but it was good. I was happy eating a ton of fried rice.

As well we had a service activity the next day, we helped a member in our ward, to paint her door, and also to cut back some bushes and stuff that were attacking her car as she drove by. So we fought back the bushes and disentangled some of them from her fence, painted her door, got sun burned, saved the day and the princess. No big deal. It was fun, and she gave us almuerzo (Lunch) afterwards. 

The biggest part of the week, was Christmas! ¡Feliz Navidad! To all of you! It was probably one of the most different Christmas's that I'll ever have. The best part, I got to skype my family!!! Yah! They are all so awesome! If you haven't talked with them in a while, well they're all changing. It was slightly awkward as well though, because I was trying to talk English again. I can talk like one sentence at a time right now, and I can think and write just fine in English, but when I try and talk, I'm so used to talking to everyone in Español that it was a bit weird. And I tried to explain a few of the things that are going on here, it's kind of crazy. I can write this letter every week, as well I write to them separately. But they can't really understand what I'm feeling and all the things that I'm seeing. I just want to bring all of them here to see it all with me!

Other than that it was awesome to see my family. Here the Christmas traditions are a little bit different. The majority of the Christmas celebration is done at midnight. Everyone stays up until 12 the 24th and eat a ton of food and open all their presents at 12 and also they launch off a ton of fireworks. It's like world war III, it's pretty crazy. We went out up on the micro deck thing that these other elders have attached to their pension and we could see and here just fireworks everywhere. And they have massive firecrackers as well that just explode and are gigantic like bombs it's pretty crazy. All of the mission had permission to be out of the pension until 6 and then we had permission to be in the house of a member if they had a car to bring us home until 10:30, then we had to return to our or another elders in our districts pension. Where we could stay up, because it's Christmas and we don't work on the 24th or 25th. So we ate dinner with a family in our ward, all of the 6 elders in our district, together. And they fed us a ton. We ate asado, which is barbeque here but 10000 times better. And we were stuffed full. Literally, and they fed us some of the best ice cream that I have eaten here and all of the food was just amazing! 

The actual Christmas day was way different, I woke up and no one else was awake, so I studied in preach my gospel for 3ish hours, then everyone else was awake, and then Elder Tolentino and I went and visited some of the families in our ward and then skyped. Then we played some Magic ( Yes, Ethan, the card game) with our ward mission leader, in which I died a miserable death and lost -52 to 11. Then we went to the church where we played some fútbol (soccer) at which I am no where near as good as any of the young men who came to play with us.

But the week was great, we've got a great progressing investigator right now. Her name is Camila and we're teaching her and she is really interested, but now she just needs to have the faith to come to church with us, and she can receive so many blessings if she does! It's all good. I hope your New years goes well. As well I've learned a little bit of Guaraní here. It's the language of paraguay, and spanish, but.

Avani pa pejasafa año peajú? Which means with who are you going to pass your new years? (spelling is probably wrong, that's the Spanish sounding out though)

Tengan una buena semana!