Well, another week has come and gone down here in Argentina, and I have lots to tell you guys. I hope you all have had an awesome week, as well. Like always, thank you for all of the support and prayers. To make sure my time doesn´t run out, I will go ahead and start. Let me know if you guys have any specific questions. Thanks!
1) The Mission Organization. Here are some cool facts in regard to the organiztion of my mission, just to fill you guys in and give you an idea of how the missions operate in foreign countries. It sounded like some good information to relay to you guys, and it´s something different :). Here in Argentina, we have about 200 missionaries serving under the direction of our mission president, Hugo Guiliani. Of course, this number fluctuates every six weeks during transfers- our crazy, two-day period when new missionaries come into the field and old ones return home. In general, the number stays relatively close to 200, though. Right now, we have 196, I think. This group of 200 missionaries (me included!) always follows the counsel of our President Guiliani, who leads and directs the mission as a whole, accompanied by his wife who helps whenever possible. He calls two missionaries to serves as his assistants in the mission home offices, where they make phonecalls and organize the major events each month.
Alongside all of them in the offices work two other missionaries who serve in two very important positions, one as the financial clerk and the other as librarian. The financial clerk is pretty self-explanatory, so I won´t spent too much time on him. As you´ve probably already guessed, though, he DOES have a loaded schedule between his bank trips and phonecalls. He always has to verify that bills get paid and that missionaries don´t encounter severe financial problems. Almost everything he completes requires the approval and signature of the president--for obvious reasons. His service, accuracy, and honesty are extremely important in the work. Then, we have his companion, the librarian, who probably has the the craziest and most distinct job in the mission. As the Bibliotecario (that´s the spanish version), he directs the distribution of all church materials within the mission, including copies of the Bible and Book of Mormon, pamphlets, pictures, manuals, etc. This includes the entire process that starts in the general offices of the church in the states and ends in each apartment of every companionship. For example, scriptures probably serve as the most important commodity for missionaries. To receive copies of the these sacred works, the offices print them off in church headquaters and then ship them to Buenos Aires, where a special and extremely HUGE distribution center manages all the imports. From there, depending on the librarian´s requests, the scriptures and other church supplies get shipped to our mission home. At this point Elder Para, our current bibliotecario, really comes into play. Based on demands and forms filled out by companionships, he decides how to distribute everything across the mission, all once again under the direction and approval of the mission president. All of this sounds horribly complicated, but it´s not too too bad since almost everything is automated and managed by computer programs. However, on top of all this, the librarian has to mangage and direct all of the apartment contracts!! The librarian always has to speak fluent Spanish, so he can talk to the lawyers and help with all of the governmental processes.
That´s the offices for ya! :). These four missionaries still proselyte the last three hours of every day so that they can do at least a little normal missionary work each week. But yeah, the majority of their time is speant in the mission home, which lies in the heart of Rosario and roughly in the center of our mission!
The President directs the whole mission from this home. And even though it sounds kinda crazy, our mission is then divided into nine areas called "zones." About 20 missionaries (10 companionships) work in each zone, doing service for memebers and proselything to share the great gospel message with Argentines. Each one of these nine zones is lead by two missionaries assigned as Zone Leaders. Usually one is a native speaker, and they both help out all of the people working in their area. These Zone leaders always call us to get information and updates on the progression of investigators and the missionary work in general. They then divide each zone into two or three districts, groups of about 4-6 missionaries. In each district, there is a district leader who helps out the two or three companionships which he leads. We meet in our small districts across the mission every Tuesday to discuss investigators, progress, ideas, and goals.
So yaeh, that´s a really basic description of the organization of the mission. And I´m just in one of close to 500 missions around the world!!! To give you another perspective, this is how info travels through the mission. Let´s say the President has a new idea he wants to tell all missionaries. Then this is his process through phonecalls and meetings. President Guiliani ---> Assistants ---> All of the zone leaders ---> each district leader---> every companionship. Mall goes through the same process, which is why I have to wait quite a while sometimes. haha.
Wow, that took forever to describe. There are still a bunch of small details, but I´ll just have to tell you guys all of that stuff after the mission. With my remaining time, I will write about my current zone here in the city of Paraná.
2) My Zone. My current zone leaders are Elder Allen and Elder Guitierrez, the two missionaries who live in the same apartment as me and my companion. Our zone has six companionships, and every week we get together on Pday. Today we are going to play basketball and ping pong for like three hours in the afternoon. I love my new zone. It´s so legit :). In my last zone of Santa Fe, we could hardly ever get together since everyone lived so far away from each other. Here in Paraná, it being more like a city, we all live a lot closer. In Santa fe, almost all areas consisted of tons of property and landscape. "Really Rural" is a good way to put it. But yeah, things are going great here in the mission. Some days never seem to end, and in others the time just flies by without us noticing. Thanks again for all of your support, mail, and basically everything. I have grown a lot both before and in my mission. I have so much more to say but need to go and get other Pday stuff done. Ya know, fun stuff like groceries and cleaning the apartment hahaha. NOT! But yeah, we need to make sure we get everything done before basketball.
Next week, I will have tons more to write to you guys, and hopefully a litte more time too.
Elder Rory Jones!