Wow- what a crazy week! I can’t believe my time in the CCM is over, and that I’m out in the field serving. It’s so exciting and so much change, but I love being a missionary and serving the Lord.
On Saturday, we said goodbye to our teachers. That was hard, they’re both such awesome guys and have taught me so much. Hermano Mora is so loving and funny, and has so much love for all of us. Hermano Gallegos has the strongest testimony, and knows so much about the Gospel and loves it so much. I want to have traits like both of those guys.
On Sunday, we had an awesome last sacrament meeting. President and Sister Bennett (CCM President) came and spoke to us about how to “DO IT THE LORD’S WAY”. He shared stories of how this had blessed his life. He’s an awesome guy. Later on Sunday, we got released as zone leaders and just all said goodbye to each other. It was awesome. I love all my friends in the CCM and I’m happy that I get to be in the same mission as most of them. We had a testimony meeting with just our district and it was just so cool seeing how much everyone has grown in there time here and learned. I’m so grateful for the CCM and all I learned there. My testimony has been strengthened so much and I’m so excited to finally be out in the field. Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts and emails. I feel angels with me and I’m so blessed to have all of you in my life.
Once we arrived in Argentina, we took a bus ride to this hotel (in Buenos Aires) and it was super nice and they had like this Argentine feast for us that was weird but good haha, and then we got to our rooms for the night and mine was all alone haha I was right nextdoor to both Elder Smiths which was way fun, and I had this way nice room all to myself haha. We went to bed at like 2:15 Argentina time and woke up at 3:15 so that was fun. We turned in our room keys because they told us we’d be leaving soon, and then they said we wouldn’t be leaving until 8 so that was a bummer haha. We finally got to the airport where our flight was delayed haha so we tried to sleep but couldn’t, so we just stalled until the plane got there. Finally, the plane came and we were able to get on but it was super turbulent and we could barely sleep.
We then landed in Rosario and grabbed our bags where there was Presidente and Hermana Allred (mission presidents) waiting for us with the AP’s and some other office missionaries. That was way exciting and fun. Then, we went to the mission home and got some orientation stuff and fed and then we met our companions.
My companion’s name is Elder Garrett Anderson from Washington D.C.! Pres Allred told me that he was the best trainer, so I’ve been saying lots of thank you prayers haha. He was a National Champion in swimming for George Mason. He is an awesome trainer and a hard worker. He’s making me speak in only Spanish so that’s exhausting but will help me learn.
We then went to our apartment for the night and went out tracting. Such a crazy experience but so fun. I was on splits with Elder Killpack, who is an AP and we went to teach Florencia and her son, Daniel, her 3rd lesson. In that lesson, I committed her to be baptized and Daniel! It was such a cool experience and even though my Spanish isn’t the best, the Spirit was there. It’s such a cool experience being able to teach and help people. Mission work is hard already, but I love it and am excited to keep going.
On Wednesday, we woke up early to take a bus to my first area, Venado Tuerto. It was like a 3-4 hour ride and gave me a chance to catch up on some sleep so that was nice. Then we had lunch with the Capdavilla family, which was good. Then we came back for siesta and studied for 2 hours, then went out and contacted the rest of the night. Pretty exhausting but really fun even though I hardly ever say anything haha. I can understand most things but speaking is so much harder. My mind is already starting to think in Spanish though, so that is good. My companion is awesome. He’s been a zone leader and he’s been a district leader and he just knows a ton of things and has taught me a lot already. There’s this one family that we are kind of teaching that has 5 kids and the most run down house ever.
We had a good day on Thursday. We contacted and tracted a ton, lots and lots of walking haha but met some good potential investigators. One named Marta, who we taught and she cried lots during our lesson haha. Then we taught another lady named Sandra who also cried lots and had a pamphlet of ours that she read all of the time so that was perfect. Hopefully we can baptize both! We have a goal of 4 baptisms a month, which we’ve been working hard for. My companion is awesome, he’s a great trainer.
On Friday, we had a lot of contacting that was unsuccessful but we had another lesson with this man named Marcelo. Since he’s started talking with us, he has stopped drinking alcohol so that is awesome, and today, we talked to him about being baptized and he said he would! It’s so cool seeing peoples lives changed. We had a talent show with the branch tonight, where me and Elder Anderson sang 4 songs with this boy named Valentino haha, and people danced and did skits and stuff, it was fun! Also, today we went and had lunch at this members house and it was DISGUSTING. I got throught the first couple bites okay but then I started having to hold in my throw up so much haha it was bad.
On Saturday, we found lots of people to start teaching it was awesome. One of the people is named Juan and was just chilling outside with his family, drinking mate and we taught him about the Plan of Salvation and that went super well. We had lunch with the Caon family and they’re awesome. They have a little 2 year old son named Bruno who is way funny haha. Hermano Caon made pizzas that were way good so that was nice, and then at night we got ice cream that was soooo good haha. I’m loving the mission so far. I can’t wait til I can speak in Spanish haha.
On Sunday, Marcelo came to church for the 2nd time which meant that he can be baptized! He had his interview and passed, so on Saturday he gets to be baptized! It’s super exciting and rewarding seeing our efforts bless someones life. My first week in the mission has been very good. It’s so fun getting to know the members and becoming friends with people, but the coolest thing is when you’re teaching someone and you can tell that they’re feeling the Spirit for the first time in a very long time, if not ever.
Today we talked with this lady who at first didn’t want anything to do with us because she was saying God didn’t love her because she had a grandson that died. We taught her about the Plan of Salvation and she became more and more accepting throughout while we were talking.
I just wanted to let you all know what the average day is like here in Venado Tuerto. It’s a pretty poor place, but not too bad. There’s some houses that are really nice, and some that are really poor in our area. There is soooooooooo many dogs in the street haha I love it. Some of them are mean but they never do anything haha. Most of the streets are dirt but there are some that are concrete. Everyone drinks mate it’s crazy haha. It’s nice because people are always chilling outside and we can just walk up and talk with them. Everyone speaks in VOS here, instead of Usted (Dad) so that makes things hard haha and some people have super strong accents so that’s like impossible. Quesadillas is pronounced [Quesadishas] haha so I have to say my “LL” like that “shhh”. Ayuda is pronounced [ashuda] haha it’s crazy. Lots of dogs, I think I said that. There’s some people who are super poor and that’s way humbling. When we go out tracting or contacting, if the door is open or they don’t have one we just clap haha. We eat lunch at a members every day, and that scramble to find other meals haha. We can’t drink the water here, but our church building is right across from our apartment and we can get it from there (Google View of Venado Tuerto chapel). The milk here is different, but still good with cereal. It rains lots, but only for like 30 minutes super hard and then it stops for a while. We do our laundry in a bucket. All of the bathrooms have a bidet toilet haha but it’s separate, I’ll probably send a picture. Our branch is the only one in our mission that’s not a stake, but when it becomes a stake, Rosario gets a temple so we’ve been working hard to make that happen. We need like 30-40 more baptisms, which is possible in the next 3 months.
All the missionaries are very excited for Christmas, and that special sacrament on the 23rd is a big help to us. Things are very different here haha but I’m loving it. When I show members pictures of our family, they love it and always say that Dad looks so young haha. They’re crazy. I love you guys!!
I’ve already gained such a love for the people of Venado, and can’t wait to find more people and teach more people, and continue teaching those who we are. I love this Gospel and I’m already seeing it bless peoples lives. I love you guys and hope all is well back home. Thank you for your prayers. I love you all!