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Monday, September 3, 2012

Hey Hey Hey from Rosario

I´m still here in the same seat! haha. Finally, all the craziness of transfer week has died down, leaving us all exhausted and ready for Pday. I will probably take a HUGE nap this afternoon, just to catch up a bit. Aside from the trasfer week rituals, we had some unique experiences as well. I want to keep you guys updated, so here we go!

Elder Ampush. He came to the mission along with the other new missionaries this past week. However, he came with his own interesting story, far different from the rest of them. Born and rasied in a jungle forest in Perú called "wawaim," Elder Ampush had never seen electricity until he turned 15. Pretty crazy, huh? His small jungle located in Perú provides shelter to many different tribes, each with their own specific language. So yep, for almost his whole life, he has spoke his special (and extremely rare) language. It doesn´t even have a name! Less than 500 people speak it, and when people travel from one jungle tribe to the next, the language changes!! They live off of river water and vegetation that is grown naturally in the forest, which just about blew our minds--president´s too! At the mission welcoming dinner, he only ate a few bites because he had never seen noodles and didn´t know how to eat them! Pouring milk into a glass cup, amongst almost everything we do at a dinner table, felt incredibly awkward and weird for him. Can you believe that? Trying a noodle for the first time when you turn 20 years old.... I almost couldn´t believe it. He had us look some pictures up online, and here are some other quick facts about him:

-His tribe lives in a small section of the forest surrounded by water, and they travel in these homeade canoes from tribe to tribe to do trades!

-They sleep under big tents that are composed of mud, sticks, and leaves.

-Luckily, one of his friends knew Spanish and the native tribe tongue. Together, they left the tribe for a few years and lived in a nieghboring city.

-Elder Ampush lived with his friend´s family for a couple years in this city, where he learned Spanish and found out about the church.

-They had to walk eight hours to get to the chapel every Sunday.

-He decided to serve a mission!

-His parents still live with the tribe, only know their native language, and don´t know what computers are.

-Elder Ampush speaks almsot perfect Spanish, and his native language--the crazy tribal tongue that nobody knows-- is spoken extremely well too.

So basically, he is my favorite missionary right now. His story is incredible. His knowledge of languages is ridiculous and incredible, whereas his knowledge of technology and modern stuff is practically nonexistent. He is learning fast, and I think people will listen to him. He is a pretty cool dude!

Helping out as Secretary. So one day we had tons of government paperwork to handle downtown. Older missionaries needed visa renewals. Newer Missionaries needed ID card applications. Other missionaries needed fingerprints to match their names on the Rosario´s computerized system. Long story short, Elder Hull (the secretary for the offices) had TONS to do throughout the week, espcially since we were in transfer week. Me too. One morning though, I had a bit of free time and offered to take some of the load. Guess what? We worked together and made a game plan. With a little bit of cooperation, we split up into two groups, went to different government buildings downtown, and finished in about half the time! It felt weird for me but was a great experience all the same. Let me explain why. :)

A long time ago, during my second month in Argentina, they called me down to the mission home for government paperwork. I didn´t understand the language very well, had abosolutely NO CLUE about the process, and just kinda enjoyed the trip. Now as a worker in the offices, I do all the behind the scenes. For example, this time I was the one who took three newer missionaries downtown to do the paperwork and had to talk to the government workers in Spanish. It was just cool to be on the other side of things. I don´t know, it is kinda hard to explain. Basically, it´s just a small miracle for me. Just nine months ago, I could barely speak Spanish and didn´t know anything about downtown Rosario. Now, about nine months later, Elder Hull and I work with all the government officers as well as manage the visas, documentation, passports, and certificates of more than 200 missionaries. And it´s all in Spanish! Plus we are still only twenty years old, which really cracks me up sometimes :) Every once in a while, we chill downtown in a line to get some type of documentation, just completey surrounded by older businessmen and other extremely high-up people. I like to call them "high-rollers." You know, people cruising along with other top dudes and CEOs. Sometimes we feel like the "high-rollers" ourselves since we carry a check or cash close to 10,000 pesos at a time to pay for special documentation or certificates. It is just amazing and lets us see the divine hand in missionary work. Actually, try to put yourself in my shoes....

You´re at your house reading this letter, right? Let´s say you get a letter in the mail this afternoon, informing you of a mission in France and that they need your help. First, you will go study French for nine weeks in a special training center, where you will also learn a bit about French culture. Then you will be sent off to serve your mission in France and be expected to learn the language along the way, trying to understand as much as possible. Thirteen months from today, you will work with another person in an office who has gone through the same experience. No, he doesn´t know French yet either :) You both will learn it though. No worries. With him, you two eventually will both be in charge of the statistics, quarterly/semi-annual reports, and government paperwork of more than 200 people. And you will do it all in French, leaving behind your native English tongue. Alright, sounds like a plan! Good luck!

This is similar to what Elder Hull and I have done, alongside thousands of other missionaries around the world. When you really think about it, nobody can deny the divine help we receive day by day thoughout our service. I know Elder Hull and I are here for a purpose, and Elder Ampush as well. All of us missionaries fufill our niche in the mission, and with faith as our fuel, we will continue changing people´s lives by bringing a message of great joy to their homes :).

It really is cool for me, even though many days can be hard and difficult. Like always, I thank you all for your support, prayers, and cards! Especially the cards!! Seriously, thanks for everything.

Elder Jones

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