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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

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