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Monday, February 13, 2012

The Adventure Has Begun!

The adventure really has begun haha.

First off, Mary, Anna, Sam, and Megan, thank you so much for everything! The pictures, small notes, and everything was great. I plan to write a letter back to you guys today. Hopefully you will receive it in three or four weeks :)

Alright, so I hope you guys have had an awesome week. Like usual, we have taught inspired lessons, attended ward activities, and served with amazing members. Also, just like every week here in the good old mission field, I have enough time to describe about 10% of what you all would like to know about my mission experiences. I will type fast! Haha I've thought about it, though and decided to pick five of the most interesting bullet points. I had considered to do another long bullet list but figured you guys would like some more detailed descriptions this time, especially since some of the topics are unique to my current areas, San Augustín y Anecleto. So yeah. Hope it all makes sense and paints the picture of my current and unique area. :)

1) Apartment. Like you already know, my current apartment is really plush, at least in comparison to my last one. :). It is part of a condo complex about nine blocks from centro. In other words, I live pretty close to downtown! As you walk in the front door, you can see the main corridor. This room fills about 75% of our flat, consisting of the stove, sink, and fridge off to one side, and our beds, bookshelves, and kitchen table off to the other. Yes, it is actually really roomy. It is HUGE! I love having the space, and in comparison to my last circumstances, it couldn't be better :). I've cooked a BOAT LOAD too. I'll talk about that in a bit, though. Anyways, to one side of this corridor/living room/kitchen/bedroom are two smaller rooms, each of which serves as a study and storage for each companionship. Though quite small, each room serves as a nice little nook to study or have some quiet time to write in your journal. We each have a small table for a desk and two closets built into the wall for our clothes. Basically, if you wanna cook, talk, make a phone call, or something like that, you just go out to the corridor. On the contrary, you go into one of the rooms to kinda get some quiet time for studies or to just relax a bit :). In between these two rooms lies our bathroom, complete with toilet, Bidé, and shower. It's definitely considered a quality bathroom for the mission, and it gets used a lot. We are trying to fix things up a bit, as it lacks a mirror and the toilet is half broken. Haha. I'm not complaining, though. So yeah, that is my apartment right now, my home for the next handful of weeks :).

2) Bishopric. As called missionaries, we can serve in leadership positions for wards and branches, which keeps us both occupied and provides us with more opportunities to serve and get to know the members. Simply put, we don't just do proselyting missionary work. But don't worry, our investigators always have first priority. We make time for both. :) With these duties and assignments, my companion and I get really involved with the ward. Each Sunday we have about 20 people come and form our congregation of members, which is a nice and close-knot group similar to a family :). We also hold Bishopric meeting every Tuesday night right after Bishop finishes his shift at work, when we discuss callings and everything about the ward. It's pretty exciting, and I have already leaned quite a bit. Our Bishop is about 35 years old and has a family of four. He learned about and joined the church 20 years ago. Also, his testimony is really strong, which gives him tons of energy and desire to serve the people and the Lord. So basically, he is a great bishop :). We use the manuals, the Spirit, and things are going great. I have had to make a few calls as secretary, which has been an interesting experience for me. One time, the Bishop assigned me to call the Buenos Aires offices and get all of our budget information, just to give you guys an example. And all this is in Spanish!! So crazy. :). In summary, serving in the Bishopric has helped me and my companion learn more about church services and grow closer to the members, as well as to the Lord. I'll definitely let you guys know more as the transfer continues over the next few weeks :). My perspective of life and testimony of the church have both grown in understanding and strength.

3) The San Agustín Branch. Alright, so I mentioned some details about this small branch on my last email. Now, after having worked in this area for another week, I have more to say and tell you guys. First off, on average, roughly 10-15 people attend each Sunday, despite the long commute. Yes, many of these faithful members have to travel for 20-40 minutes to arrive at church. This branch's boundaries lie many miles apart. For us to visit the branch president in his house, we would have to walk about an hour and a half haha. So yep, the branch boundaries are HUGE!! Mainly we focus on the Anacleto ward, whose boundaries include our current apartment and the Bishop's house, but about once a week we set apart some time to work in San Agustín. This all might sound kinds complicated. Haha. Well, it kinda is :). So in sum, the mission president assigned us to these two areas to do proselyting missionary work, the ward (Anecleto) and the Branch (San Agustín). We always work in Anecleto six days of the week, which includes our Bishopric duties. On the one other day, we work references in the small branch of Anecleto and have a branch council meeting with the Brach president in the church, just to see how things are going. Hopefully that all makes sense :). alright.

4) Cooking! Alright, Elder Rory Jones, the Italian chef wonder, now knows how to make homemade Italian pizza from scratch. :). At the beginning of my mission, I always used pre-pizza ingredients and other pre-mixes to help me out. However, for the first time yet, I made a pizza completely from scratch. I know, crazy, huh? Even though the process took up much more time, in the end it tasted way better :). As it baked on the oven, we all waited and watched, hoping it would turn out okay. For those of you who dont know, whenever you get a group of 20-year-old guys/missionaries together trying to cook without their moms, the situation can get disastrous haha. Luckily, this time everything cooked to a crisp and tasted amazing. I will probably make it in memory of Argentina for the rest of my life. Though still pretty simple as far as cooking goes, it was a BIG accomplishment for us missionaries haha. It tasted tons better than Raman noodles or our typical bowl of cereal :). Also, we have cooked quite often in general, just because we have a stove that works perfectly and a functioning oven. Well....almost perfectly. :) The stove starter broke before my arrival, and so everytime we want to turn it on, we have to light a piece of paper on fire and stick it up through the bottom of the oven. That's not all. We then have to mess with the gas switch and shuffle the burning papers around until all parts of the burner catch aflame haha. It works fine once you get it going, though. No worries. Each time we cook = mini adventure, as you might imagine!

5) Photos. I'm gonna try to and them, even though the majority of the computers here really struggle with current technology :).

Elder Jones

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