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Monday, October 31, 2011

Water, Water, Water.

Wow, what a week. I don´t even know where to start. To briefly summarize, we had flash floods, two days of rain and service, two baptisms, and a crazy sickness that upset my stomach like a beast. I´ll talk briefly about everything with my available time. Anyways, here we go!

1) Flash Floods. So on monday night (last P-day), it started to rain. We work in the rain pretty regularly here and just went along with our usual routine. We taught a lesson in a member's home while the storm raged outisde. When we left, we got absolutely hammered by the tempest. We half walked/jogged to the bishop's house for shelter. With our raincoats and stuff, working in the rain isn´t a problem at all, but this wasn´t just your typical rain... It was a HURRICANE! haha. Not really. But it did remind me of the tropical storms we have back home. Äfter like an hour in the bishop´s home we left for the pench. We had waited for an hour with the bishop´s family, hoping for the rain to stop but didn´t have luck. We took off running into the storm. There wasn´t very much lightning, but it rained, and rained, and rained. Our pench is like 25 minutes away from the bishop´s house. No bueno. haha. The streets had already flooded over the curb, and on some of the worse roads, the water was above our knees!! This reminded me of the flood we had in Kingwood we had that one time guys! haha. Lucky, there were emergency buses running and picking up stranded people. Many people had cars stuck in mud or simply were stranded under trees! It was crazy. And guess what? The rain just kept coming! Finally, the bus dropped us off and we trudged our way to the pench, soaked and freezing, where we found something horrible. Our pench had flooded!! There was about two inches of water all over the floor. Luckily, two of the other Elders had arrived a bit earlier and had moved our stuff upstairs. Everything was soaked. Anyways, we all crammed into the small two rooms upstairs and slept through the storm after verifying with the zone leaders that we had all arrived safely. Then the next day can be defined with two words: service and sickness.

2) Service. This topic is a little bit more fun for me to talk about, so I´ll start with it. We spent the whole day--literally almost every hour--going to all the members' homes and helping. We also assisted a bunch of people in the streets with their cars and stuff like that. I obviously don´t have tons of time to describe everything, but we shoveled so many gallons of water out of people´s houses. To better paint the picture for you guys, a member owns an all-cement house that lies in a really low elevation, surrounded by mud mounds and a dirt road. He had a foot and a half of water in his house! It was really sad. Almost everything had been water damaged. It´s actually a good thing that it was made of cement. Had it been constructed with wood, who knows what would have happened. So anyways, we did service ALL DAY. It was actually a good experience. It was very similar to the service day we had after Hurricane Ike in Texas. We were a team of missionaries going from house to house, offering a helping hand. A bit crazy, but it was still a great day. You guys might be able to find the Argentine news about this flood on youtube. We watched a bit of it in a member's home. The entire city of Sante Fe experienced flash floods and waterdamage. Terrible loco.

3) Sickness! Uggghhh. All of the other elders had told me that everyone gets sick at least once during their first six weeks. I was hoping to be the exception, but nope... they were right haha. The morning of service I felt a little weird. I ate breakfast and then felt even worse. While doing some studies on my desk, my stomach was making weird noises. You guys know where this is going.... and it´s NOT FUNNY. haha. I ran to the bathroom, and we´ll just say that I didn´t have the best experience of my life. Then about two hours later, I threw up three times in the road. Yuck. I got some kind of bug. We think it was from the food that we had eaten in a member's house, but aren´t entirely sure. The next day, I felt a ton better. Then with a little more time, I was back to normal. It was something I ate cuz I didn´t have a fever or anything. My stomach and intestines were just killing me. Anyways, that´s enough about my infirmities. I´m sure more will come in the future. Hopefully they will pass quickly. Now, on to probably my favorite experience of my mission up to this point: My First Baptism.

4) Ba-ba-baptism! We had our servicio bautismal directly alfter sacrament meeting. Elder Birky and I had worked with this family for almost a month. They are great people, and the ward had helped us out a lot too. Changing into all white clothes and seeing Juan and Mikaela in their ropas bautismales (baptism clothes) couldn´t have been better. I don´t have very much more time, but we had an incredible experience. When I entered the water with Juan, there was just a great feeling. There were like 30 people watching, so I was a little nervous. I gave the prayer in spanish (obviously) haha, and then affter looking at the witnesses, baptized Juan. We took tons of Pictures before, and the entire bautismal program went really well. I think it was mentioned in another email, but Juan is 8 years old and Mikaela is 14. Their mom is an active member, but much of here family doesn´t attend and some of them haven't even been baptized. Her husband and older children still don´t talk to us very much as missionaries. We are working on it though. We also have two more baptisms scheduled in two weeks for another family! Hopefully all goes as planned. I´ll try to always keep you guys updated.

To end, I´ll leave you guys with a few funny Facts:
-while we were doing a contact, a bird pooped on my head!
-We were at a member's home, and they offered us a snack. Usually this is crackers, bread, or something similar. Guess what the gave us. Cow Stomoch! Ugghh!! Haha. I´ll try to describe it. It tasted like soggy beef jerky lined with weird ridges. I Only ate like two bites and then stopped. Haha. My companion had to hide a gag. It was really funny!
-The hot water didn´t work on the bautismal font, so it was freezing!

Anyways, that´s about it for now. Things are going great here, and I hope that all of ya´ll are doing well too. Thanks for everything guys. You are in my prayers.


Elder Jones

Monday, October 24, 2011

Trip to Rosario and Area Experiences

Wow, I´ve got another week under my belt. It´s been crazy and fun. I hope you guys are doing great, and thanks for all of the letters! Grandma Schank, I did receive yours. Thanks! The mail is definitely slow here and finally gets to my pench about once every two weeks. It´s great to hear about everything going on back home and at BYU. Sometimes I forget how far away Rosario is from the states :). Also, I´m trying to find the balance between small bullets and details. There is so much to say cuz a thousand things happen every week, but at the same time I could just talk about one thing for the entire email. haha. I´ll do my best. This week I´ll just share mis momentos favoritos de la semana pasada (my favorite moments from the past week) and also some random stuff if there´s time. I´m trying to send photos again this week. Hopefully the computer doesn´t freeze. Anyways, here we go:

1) Trip to Rosario. The offices in the Mission home manage all of the legal documents and passport stuff for all of the missionaries. The needed me and two other missionaries to come down to Rosario to do paperwork. It was an awesome trip. I went on exchanges with my companion and went with the other two elders to the terminal. The terminal is basically a huge bus station that´s kinda designed like an airport. They have gates and everything! Anyways, we rode on a double-decker bus from Sante Fe to Rosario. We were on the second floor and in the first row. So it felt like we were riding in the driver seat. We had a great time, both during the three hour bus ride to the mission home, and later in the city of Rosario during the next day. We went to different governmental buildings with one of the assistants, where they took fingerprints, updated photos, and did a few other things. I didn´t understand it all since everything was in spanish, but the assistant to the president helped us. Overall, we just really enjoyed ourselves, and it was fun to take a break from the normal routine of proselyting and teaching. The assistent said that I´ll probably have to go back down to renew my visa stuff when I hit my one-year mark. We´ll see what happens :),

2) Computer Repair! One of the member families in my ward is the cocentino family. They have five kids, love the church, and have been a great help to me and my companion, Elder Birky. Some of them have gone to teaching appointments with us before, which really helps. Anyways, one night we were visiting them and they mentioned that they had gotten a computer virus. The dad, hermano Cocentino, uses the computer everyday for his job. (He uses software to fix cell phones and other technological devices.) They had know idea what to do, and basically said that they couldn´t afford to get a new computer at the moment. I´m obviously not a computer genius. You guys already know that :). I still offered to help. None of their windows nor the start menu would come up when they started the computer. To be honest, I don´t even remember everything that happened. I used control alt delete to pull that small window up and then was able to launch the internet after clicking different links and exploring a bit. Then on the internet, I downloaded a free antiviral software. There were thousands to choose from. The computer needed some serious time to download the software bc their internet connection was really bad that night. So we had to leave but promised to come back the next day. That night we prayed for assistance b/c we really wanted to help this family out, especially since they had offered their hand to us so many times. I worked with it a bit the next day, and I really believe a miracle passed: The free antiviral software that I downloaded deleted the effects of the virus, brought all of the windows back, and the computer functions like normal now! I was so grateful, and the cocentinos were extremely excited. So they didn´t have to take it to a computer shop to get repaired or buy a new one. That simple software that I downloaded erased the whole virus. I don´t think it was just a lucky coincidence cuz I could probably never do something like that again, especially with the severity of their virus and my minimal computer knowledge. Great experience :).

3) How we get around. Our area is pretty darn big, but we don´t have bikes. We go almost everywhere on foot. Sometimes we take the city bus because it´s really cheap, but we can´t afford to use it everyday. Just to give you an idea, it takes 30 minutes to walk to our chapel from our pench, and about 50 minutes to walk from one side of our area to the other side´s limit. So we walk, walk, walk, and walk! haha

4) Ward Mission Leader and Members.. We meet with our ward mission leader, Marcelo, once a week. We go over all of our most important investigadores and plan a bit. He is really cool, about 22, and is trying to get on a mission himself. The members help us SO MUCH. We have a lunch appt everyday, which helps us get to know them. Also, we teach about 5 lessons a week with a member present. They help us out a ton.

5) I don´t know my exact address, but I live right by the intersection of Mateo and French. You should be able to find it on google maps, Dad! :) And yes, we are still living in the kitchen with the four other elders. It kinda stinks. I´ve lived out of suitcases since I got here. haha. Oh well, it´s all just part of the experience. I only have one table to work on and my bed is by the fridge next to my suitcases haha. I think we are going to move this week or next. The lawyer is working on a contract with the offices. For right now, we are still looking and taking pictures of different appartements to send to the offices through email. Thanks for all of your support and letters.

I gotta go. Love you guys. Chao!!!!!!!

Elder Jones

Monday, October 17, 2011

Rory's Third Week in Argentina!

1) Testimony Meeting. I forgot to write about this last week, so here it goes. Here in Argentina, they had testimony meeting the week after General Conference, instead of the week before like in America. So it was my second Sunday in my Spanish Ward, which is totally awesome by the way! Anyways, so there was like a 30 second pause in the meeting when nobody went up to share there testimony. I already knew the Bishop pretty well at this point, and something funny happened. Since nobody was coming up, the Bishop just pointed at me in the congregation and motioned me to come up and share my testimony. Everyone saw it, so I didn´t really have a choice. Plus the Bishop is cool, and I want to work hard for him. So I went up, introduced myself, and bore my testimony of the Savior and the Book of Mormon. It actually went pretty well, even though I had some grammar errors :). The people said that they understood me. I´m just glad that the bishop pointed at me like that cuz otherwise I probably wouldn´t have gone up and had the great experience.

2) Teaching people English. This is really fun, and since some of my current roommates are from chile or columbia, I get to teach them some English. They teach me so much spanish that it´s the least I can do for them in return. Anyways. It was really funny one night when we were teaching the vocab of stuff in a bedroom. We were teaching Elder Artunduaga how to say ¨"blanket," "bed," "window," and other stuff like that, and then he would tell us how to say them in Spanish. Anyways, when we were teaching him, something really funny happened. We taught him the word¨"sheet," and every time he said the word it sounded like he was swearing. It was really funny. He wasn´t doing it on purpose or anything. Plus we mispronounce spanish words all the time. Now i can understand why people laugh at me sometimes. It can be really funny. He would say "Sha--EE--tt."

3) WASHING CLOTHES BY HAND TOTALLY STINKS! I spend almost 2 1/2 hours this morning doing laundry. All I got done were all my socks, two shirts, and three sets of garments. It´s a total pain in the butt, but that´s just how it goes haha. It is part of the experience. We buy this special soap and then have two bins. One for washing and one for rinsing. You have to scrub soo much to get all the dirt off stuff and to make the clothes smell clean. It´s all good though. I just really appreciate washing machines now haha.

4) BAPTISMS!!!! We have two baptisms scheduled for a week from this Saturday. This is so exciting for me, especially since I´ve been able to teach them about the restauración and other parts of the gospel. I will give more information next week, when I know more about what will happen exactly. We have been to their house and taught them both three times so far. They are brothers and sisters, one at the age of 14, and the other 9. The mom is a member and has been helping us along. I´ll be sure to tell more soon!

5) Juice. The juice here is absolutely amazing. This might sound insignificant. Well, it kinda is... But everything tastes homemade! You gotta love it. If any of you come down to argentina, be sure to try all the different types of tangs and juices !

6) Rory the Chef. You guys all know how great of a cook I am hahaha NOT. Anyways, being the great chef I am, I decided to make a pizza. I usually have something simple like eggs, pasta, or ramen, but I decided to go out on a limb and try something new. BAD IDEA. I thought I know what I was doing, but I ended up burning about half of the crust, which basically ruined it!!! If you ripped off the burnt parts, it still tasted pretty good. I´ll just have to try again sometime soon. The members keep giving me tips and stuff, which is awesome cuz they can all cook so good!

Nos vemos en the semana que viene!

Elder Jones

Monday, October 10, 2011

My Companion and First Lesson

Hola America! This week, I have about an hour or so to write home and to the president. I´ll try to cover the most interesting experiences of my mission so far. So, once again, I´m going to make a bullet list of my favorite things in the mission right now, just like one of my earlier emails from the MTC. Here we go:

-Living in Santa Fe and working with the San Martin Ward. The culture here is so different but so cool at the same time. I talked a lot about what the food and streets are like during my last email, so I won´t focus on it too much now.

-Learning from my trainer and living with four other missionaries. My trainer is Elder Birky. He is from Utah and has only been in Argentina for 4 1/2 months but can already speak fluently. Pretty impresive, huh? He really likes to dirtbike and snowboard. He also goes boating a bunch, so we have quite a bit in common. He helps explain principles of spanish to me, and for this reason I´m extremely grateful to have a trainer from the states. I want to have a native companion soon, though, bc it will help my accent and extend my vocab. Right now, Im just not quite ready cuz I still need English Translation every once in a while. We´ve gotten to know each other pretty well, and this is only his second area. So we are getting to know sante fe together haha.

-Living with other missionaries. Whenever we come home at night, after having planned and done a little bit more studying, we have time to hang out and do whatever for about 30 to 45 minutes. Right now, I am living with four other elders. I´ll describe each of them briefly.

-Elder Hull. He is from Arizona and is actually completely new to the mission just like me, so every night we have fun talking about our crazy days since we both are still new to Argentina. We could communicate in spanish, but it´s still tough. Sometime we speak catillano, other times just english. It just depends on the day and how tired we feel that night haha.

-Elder Hjempstead. All the natives here totally butcher his name. haha. He is from California and is completely new too. We are kinda in a unothodox situation right now, having three brand new elders in the same apartment. There are six of us living in a 4 person apartment right now. The assistents to the president are trying to help us find another one so we can split up, but it´s taking longer than we thought. Right now, Elder Birky and I are just in temporary housing with these Elders. It´s fun, but super crowded!! We only have one shower and Elder Birky and I have to sleep on the floor in the kitchen. Don´t worry too much, we still have beds :). They are just on the floor in the kitchen cuz there isn´t room anywhere else haha. We should have a new apartment by the end of this week. Hopefully. We´ll just have to see what happens. Oh yeah, back to Edler Hjempstead (sorry for the tangent). He went to BYU also and is a pretty cool guy. He likes to surf and has studied a bit of engineering in Utah. He´s a cool dude.

-Elder Rivera, one of the two latinos. He is from Chile and only has about 4 months left on his mission. He doesn´t understand English, but is a totaly beast at spanish. Obviously haha. I´ve learned a lot from him about the area, missionary work in general, and espeacially about spanish vocab. He wears a soccer jersey every night and can cook some AMAZING FOOD! To be honest, I still don´t know him as well as the other elders since I can only talk to him in spanish. With my limited vocabulary, it´s hard for us to just talk casually about stuff. Whenver he is talking about a lesson or something in the gospel, I understand pretty well, though :). Yesterday, he made this rice, cream, dip thing that we ate with his homemade french fries. Gnarly!

-Elder Artunduaga. His name is really fun to say. Here is the phonetical spelling: ARR--TUNE--DO-AWE-GA. He is from columia and is absolutely HILARIOUS. He is one of the hardest working missionaries in Rosario and is super good with people, even people with me who can´t speak the language fluetly yet. He has probably taught me the most, aside from my trainer. He has been here for almost a year and a half and already has about 14 baptisms! You don´t measure your success on number, but still that´s pretty impressive. He also has some cool casual clothes. He can sing like a total beast. AND He can cook really good food too. I quickly found out during my first week that about 40 percent of the missionaries in my mission are native to south america! Cool, huh? About half of my companions will be native!

Wow, I just took forever to describe the missionaries in my pench. Oh well, it´s good stuff :) Now, I´ll move on to the stories worth telling :).

About five days ago, on like my fifth day here in Argentina, my Compaion and I were teaching this mom and girl about the restoration. They were both somewhat practicing catholics, but still had interest in our message. Up to this point and time, and even now, I usually don´t say very much bc it´s hard for me to understand the Argentines when they start talking super fast. I´m still used to the slow spanish I heard at the MTC haha. Anyways, while we were teaching and talking about José Smith, she kinda just looked at me and basically asked me what I thought. I started talking and shared the Joseph Smith storty with her. The spanish wasn´t perfect--that´s for sure--but she still paid attention and seemed to understand. After we were done with the lesson, while talking on the doorstep outside her house, she turned to me and said this: "There were some times when I couldn´t understand what you were saying exactly, but I could understand with the feelings I received in my heart." This really hit home with me. My spanish doesn´t have to be perfect, thought I wish it was, in order to convey the message of the gospel. My trainer, Elder Birky, did an aweome job that lesson too. We were pumped afterwards. It was just a great experiene for me, it being my first lesson in the real world outside the MTC. The spanish is so much faster and harder here :). We teach to the people, and the spirit convers them. That´s how it works. It´s divinely appointed, and I´ve seen it happen here during my first week and a half. Rigth now, my tainer still takes the lead while I am learning the language, but we are still a team even though i don´t talk as much. It´s cool, really cool :)

Okay, I only have about five more minutes and haven´t really written much about what I had planned. It´s all good, though. I´ll just make a quick list of interesting facts that I don´t have time to elaborate on:
-We have lunch in a member home every day of the week except P-day. There are abou 80 active members in my ward, and most of them are so nice.
-I¨ve learned a bunch about soccer just from talking to people. Union, Colon, or Boca? These are some of the most popular teams in my area, and I can´t decide which jersey to buy yet haha.
-I´ve eaten some pretty weird food, but most of it has been pretty good. I´ve had lunch at a members home almost everday here, and everytime I´ve had something with steak or chicken. Gotta love it.
-The bishop of my ward is really cool and helps us everday after work.
-There are about 200 missionaries in Rosario right now
-We are having a member from the seventy come talk to us this week in a zone conference!
-We have about 14 investigators right now. It´s crazy for me!

Well, there is so much more to say, but I don´t have time. Darn... It´s all good though. We have a few lesons that we have schedule for tonight and we still have to go buy groceries.

Nos Vemos Amigos y Familia,

Elder Jones

Monday, October 3, 2011

First Week in Good Ole Argentina

First off, missionary. work. is. incredible. It´s an adventure filled with profound experiences, especially for me during this past week.
-It´s giving up the cares of the world and serving the Lord
-It´s giving the bittersweet goodbyes to your teachers at the mtc who served you for 9 weeks
-It´s knowing that you won´t see them/anyone else in America for 2 years and still feeling happy
-It´s keeping a positive attitude, regardless of the situation
-It´s singing hymns everyday and getting them stuck in your head
-It´s having days feel like minutes and minutes like days
-It´s reading your mail and thinking about the ones you love
-It´s studying the gospel for hours and hours with your investigators´ needs in mind
-It´s growing attached to the mtc, loving it, and then having to leave
-It´s feeling so exciting to leave that you might go crazy and so nervous that you might poop your pants
-It´s going out of your comfort zone
-It´s being strengthened by the testimonies of others and sharing yours when the time is right
-It´s learning how to get along with everyone, even the weird ones
-It´s having new homes, foods, and friends
-It´s putting on your suit coat and name tag everyday and knowing that you’re a true missionary for the Lord
-It´s serving him with all of your heart might mind and strength each day you wear that tag
-It´s speaking spanish every day, whether you understand yourself or not
-It´s bearing your farewell testimony in your mtc ward and thinking of the farewell talk you gave back home
-It´s eating two huge bowls of ice cream at the last mtc meal and knowing that it wont be available in argentina
-It´s packing your bags and saying goodbye to your zone and knowing that you’ll be in argentina the next day
-It´s waking up the next morning and realizing that It´s your last day the mtc and in america!
-It´s getting your passport, visa, travel information, and then boarding the bus bound for the airport
-It´s watching the mtc fade away through the bus window and remembering all your incredible experiences there
-It´s seeing how the gospel really is rolling forth to all nations in over 50 languages
-It´s arriving at the slc airport with 460 other missionaries, all going to different parts of the world
-It´s feeling famous there because everyone knows who you are and asks where you’re going to serve
-It´s falling asleep at random times in random places because you’re so exhausted
-It´s waiting to board a huge international plane thats the size of 5 whales
-It´s taking off into the air and not looking back
-It´s wondering about the future and knowing that you’ll have some good stories to tell when you come back home
-It´s praying for and loving your future companion before you meet him
-It´s showing your faith every day, every minute, every second
-It´s studying the scriptures and Preach My Gospel for hours each day/preparing to teach & dominate
-It´s thinking about your friends serving in different parts of the world and hoping for their success
-It´s hoping and praying for your success too
-It´s enjoying the journey no matter what the circumstances, b/c you know that you’re doing the right thing
-It´s finally landing in argentina and then waiting in the visa line
-It´s contacting someone in the airport, feeling excited/nervous, and successfully giving him a pass-along card, knowing that he didn´t understand everything you said but got the gist of the message.
-It´s walking outside the airport for the first time and trying to take it all in
-It´s hearing catillano (which is more unique than i thought) EVERYWHERE
-It´s having people try to say you name and hearing "juh-owens" or hearing people just say it in spanish like "hone-es"
-It´s realizing that most of these people don’t understand a word of english
-It´s driving to the mission home in a van that´s similar yet different to vehicles in america
-It´s seeing tons--and i mean TONS--of soccer fields in every possible spot.
-It´s watching kids, teenagers, and some adults completely dominating at soccer. no joke. I´ve heard that everyone, sometimes even 5 year olds, can out play the missionaries here! crazy stuff. they are SO GOOD!
-It´s going through an orientation just like in the mtc and feeling pretty DISoriented again b/c there is so much new information
-It´s meeting your mission president and already looking up to his sabiduría (wisdom).
-It´s finally meeting your trainer, Elder Birky, and learning everything from him every second.
-It´s relying on him b/c he understands spanish so much better and learning how to speak from him every day.
-It´s improving your spanish so much so rapidly that it blows your mind, but still realizing that you have a LONG WAY to go :)
-It´s having a HUGE culture shock and loving that shock, even though it's more overwhelming than the mtc b/c it's so much more awesome
-It´s seeing over a hundred dogs the first day. This isn´t a joke. promise.
-It´s getting followed by and sometimes even chased by these dogs and quickly learning how to scare them off with certain words, actions, etc
-It´s seeing mopeds en cada calle (in every street) and realizing that they are more common than cars here
-It´s seeing 2, 3, or even more people than that riding one moped. My trainer says that in some small areas of town, when a family just needs to go a short distance, they will all just pile onto one moped instead of using the car. The most he has seen on one moped is 6! It´s really funny haha. I think the record for the mission is 8, but the most i´ve seen so far is three :)
-It´s eating empanadas and milanesas every day. There both amazing and that´s like all we eat here. Read about them on the internet if you want more info :)
-It´s eating more chicken and steak in your first 5 days here than you have eaten in the last month. Seriously, i´ve had some type of chicken, steak, or bread filled with chicken and steak for every lunch and dinner here. It´s great but a lot of missionaries gain tons of weight haha
-It´s seeing street salesman with horse drawn carriages and buying fruit (which is better here than in america) and other commodities from him
-It´s having lunch appts with members about 4 to 6 days of each week, which is totally awesome b/c i never have to cook
-It´s seeing really severe poverty in some areas and realizing how good we have it in america.
-It´s getting let into a home and teaching a family the first lesson about the restauración and feeling the spirit so strongly
-It´s understanding about 85% when your trainer is teaching about the gospel and anywhere from 0% to 75% when they are talking about soccer or other random things
-It´s getting to teach really small amounts of these lessons, feeling super nervous, and then feeling great when you find out that they understood your simple explanation of a scripture or your short testimony of the principle
-It´s living in a completely different world that I absolute love. Everyone is so cool.
-It´s learning about the siestas and watching the entire city shutdown from 1 to 4 each afternoon.
-It´s trying to contact and teach during the siestas and not having much success. Everyone, and i mean EVERYONE, sleeps during this time. Well, everyone except missionaries :) haha
-It´s wanting to live in argentina after your mission so that you can sleep during this siesta. You guys know how much I love naps
-It´s living with two natives in your pench (apartment), one from chile and the other from columbia, and just experiencing their different lifestyle
-It´s not understanding what these natives are saying at all sometimes, and other times feeling exciting b/c you know exactly what they are saying!
-It´s being able to roll your Rs almost perfectly sometimes and not at all during other times and not knowing why.
-It´s having an 8 year old make fun of you at church b/c you mispronounce a word while taking to him and have him teach you new vocab words
-It´s realizing how nice the people are here--much nicer in general than the people in america. Tons of people give us food and let us in, even if they are not really interested in the gospel.
-It´s feeling like a true missionary for the first time while walking down a dirt road in a different part of the world with your companion, holding copies of the BOM and pamphlets to hand out to people
-It´s having to do laundry by hand and remembering the good times you didn´t appreciate when you had a washing machine
-It´s seeing soccer jerseys everywhere of all the different argentine teams. A lot of missionaries collet them. They are a bit expensive, but i will most definitely buy one soon!
-It´s hearing "GOOOAAAAALLLLL" shout from every tv everywhere cuz all everyone ever watches is soccer, soccer, or soccer
-It´s getting so much help from members and the bishop of our ward
-It´s trying to cover a huge amount of area in a small amount of time
-It´s living in san martin, the best area of the mission for me so far haha
-It´s tasting different types of soda, candy, and juice here. Like everything is homemade here, so it´s all amazingly good
-It´s getting used to the new currency and figuring out how to gauge prices at the supermarket
-It´s going to bed at 1030 after one of the most crazy days of your life and sleeping like a brick for the 8 hours you get
-It´s getting up the next morning, studying for 2 hours with your companion, going out to tract, and realizing that people are STILL sleeping. What´s up with that? So let me summarize for you. All the people here sleep in two hours later than us and sleep for 2 to 4 hours during the siesta. They also go to bed SUPER late. I think that it´s pretty funny :)
-It´s just loving every minute and trying your hardest to learn spanish
-It´s telling funny stores with your roommates and having a great time
-It´s not understanding the story very well when one of the natives is talking and just laughing to yourself
-It´s watching general conference and hearing the entire congregation laugh at a pun or joke that one of the speakers said and not getting it b/c you don’t know spanish well enough. This was really funny. When the whole congregation laughed at one of President Monson´s jokes, i just looked back at one of the other new missionaries from the mtc. We laughed at each other b/c neither of us got it :)
-It´s talking about soccer with kids and then trying to share a quick gospel message with them
-It´s attending the meetinghouse in your area that a tad more rundown than the one in your hometown, but still really similar
-It´s realizing that the meetinghouse is by far the nicest building around other than offices in downtown area.
-It´s feeling grateful for everything you have and still realizing that the people here love their lives, even though they don´t have as much stuff as americans
-It´s having people ask you where you’re from b/c they can tell you are not argentine just by looking at you
-It´s talking to other new missionaries and sharing funny/exciting experiences that we have had
-It´s watching a native trainer study with his new companion and laughing b/c they don’t understand each other haha.
-It´s just having the best time ever
-It´s finding out that the mail takes about 4 weeks to go one way, sometimes longer b/c it has to get to the mission home first. Right now, I live about 2 and a half hours away from the mission home, which is average. So I think I get the pouch mail like every two weeks or something like that. With standard Argentine mail, it can take over a month to get form america to my apartment haha. I´ll just have to figure out how the mail works as I go
Hasta Luego!
Elder Jones
P.S. I am trying to write people back and will send a few letters in a couple days. If you really want to tell me something, email me! I can read your emails, but I am not allowed to respond to emails through gmail. I will have to handwrite back! Thanks for everything guys! Argentina, argentina, argentina. The best mission of them all! haha