Hello to everyone. I have absolutely loved serving as a non-office missionary these past few weeks. The only downside is the mail system. Now, I have to wait until special conferences or meetings with the zone leaders to receive mail. So long story short, I haven´t heard anything from the outside world for close to a month now. Pretty crazy, huh? No worries though, since the mail should arrive this week with the zone leaders, or at least that´s the plan. :) I enjoy reading about school and activities in your letters, especially after a long day of work. I know I´ve said that like a thousand times, but it´s completely true. I love serving as a missionary, but at the same time, there is nothing like getting a letter from a good friend or family member. Letters are treasures for us as missionaries, and they always make me want to work even harder! So thank you, like always. I´ve decided to focus this week´s message on the small little town of Pergamino here in Argentina, which actually lies with the providence of Buenos Aires.
Pergamino. Including my service here in Pergamino, I have now served in four different cities of Argentina: Santa Fe, Paraná, Rosario, and Pergamino. Each one has its own pros and cons, and Pergamino has the smallest population, that´s for sure. I don´t know the exact statistics, but we only have about 10 missionaries in the whole city, forming a small, legit zone. I already know almost all of the missionaries here because we all live within walking distance except for two companionships. They take the bus, which is no big deal. I really love it. It reminds me of my experiences in Paraná, the other smaller zone in which I served before heading into the offices. Like Paraná, this city is so small that all the missionaries get together every pday--every single pday!!!!. We played indoor soccer this morning with a mini soccer ball. Tons. of. fun. I had a blast, and everyone is really tired right now. We will probably head back to the apartment after writing home to take a nice long nap before heading out to work this evening.
Aside from the zone and its missionaries, Pergmaino has a ranch/cowboy feel to it. About 40% of my current area contains ranches, fields, and lots of dirt paths. We walk on rocky streets half of the time and on cement whenever possible. The people aren´t as educated here, but they are a little more open and treat us well. Some of them even give us food and a glass of water during the first visit. Many own horses or cattle. So cool. Whenever we head out to the ranches of our area, the majority of the men don´t wear shirts and have big mustaches. It makes me think of El Paso sometimes. haha. Due to the fields and wide spacing, we have to walk two to three minutes between contacts sometimes. It really is quite the experience. The other half of our area is the border of downtown. It has a suburb feel to it, although most of the people still lead a simple life with little technology.
Let´s be honest, it is really quite different than all of my other areas. I really like it; however, and I learn some more each week. The people here have passionate feelings towards soccer in Buenos Aires, even more so than Rosario and all my other areas in the mission. We talk about the league and the teams during almost every visit :), which is good as we're having some solid small talk before starting the lesson. I´ve enjoyed my time here. Due to little time here in the computer shack, here are some other quick facts about the little town of Pergamino:
- Little groups of young adults and kids always play soccer in the street.
- A large chunk of the population goes to an Evangelist church, which helps us out while teaching them. Usually they have a reasonable understanding of basic gospel concepts and accept the Bible without any problems.
- It rains here three to four times a week. I don´t know if we have just had some random weather, but it does seem to rain here quite regularly.
- Our apartment has a car garage. It is really small, unlike the typical garages in the states, but we use it to do exercises. We can even play small soccer games inside when the relentless rain keeps us inside.
- We starting having missionary activities in the church this past week, inviting many members and investigators to come and get together. It was a great success, and we plan to work with the Bishop some more this coming week.
- Our first Sunday, only 16 people attended. This past week we had 36! We can´t demand unrealistic goals, but we sure can demand improvement :)
I have tons more to say, but I would like to dedicate some more time to writing my family this week. Thank you for all of your support. I´m doing well down here, thousands of miles away from home. Actually, I will experience a reverse culture shock upon my return home to the states haha. Seriously. Hopefully I won´t be too weird! haha.