1 de Octobre 2012
After two straight days of travel and another day of meetings, I met my companion, Elder Clark, and we started our journey to our area, Reconquista in the Santa Fe Provence. We, along with many of the other Elders, took a taxi ride to the bus station with the luggage so we could all go to our separate areas.
While at the bus station, I talked for most of the time with Elder Cardona, an Elder from Buenos Aries who was about to go home in a few days. He was pretty cool; he had a lot of companions from the States, so he was always working on his English. He said his dad taught him a bit too before he left for his mission, but the funny thing is that his dad learned English from reading textbooks and watching the Harry Potter movies.
Our bus ride to Reconquista was four hours long, but it was on a nice grey hound type bus and it wasn´t nearly as bad as the companionship that had an eleven hour bus ride. Once we got to Reconquista, we had another short taxi ride before we got to the apartment, which is conveniently located above a pharmacy.
One other companionship lives with us, Elder Sparks and Elder Garcia. Elder Sparks is from a town in Wyoming with only five-hundred people. Elder Garcia is from Monterrey, Mexico and is already a certified message therapist. So, that first night we get back to the apartment and we´re the first ones there and not too long after we got there, Elders Sparks and Garcia showed up with hamburgers for us.
A lot of the area we work in is all dirt roads, but the city is slowing building cement roads everywhere. There is at least three wild dogs on every road, but they don´t bother people. If a dog every does start barking it will never come closer that seven feet away and even then if you just bend over and act like you are going to pick up a rock they will run off. The only thing the dogs really bother is the bus. If a bus drives down the road, every dog will start barking at it and one or two will try to attack it.
Eating with the members isn´t bad, it´s mostly rice with chicken in it. The thing that is worrisome isn´t the food though, it´s where it´s prepared. Most of the houses are just cement floors and walls, maybe bricks. but they don´t look very clean. Needless to say, we always offer to bless the food before we eat, just to make sure that whoever says the prayer asks for the food to be blessed and make us healthy.
Twice this week though, we did have, what was basically, spinach tacos. The first time was kind of awful. They don´t have tortillas here, so the family made crepes and then filled them with spinach and brocolli. The second time we had it, it wasn´t nearly as bad. They were made with something a lot closer to a tortilla and just tasted much better. The only problem with that meal is I had to eat two, which was too filling, and then have cake. After cake, the dad said, "If you like it, grab another." So I was obligated to have a second slice of cake when I didn´t even have room for the first.
There isn't a ward here, but a branch, so we have about thirty active members that come every week. There used to be five full branches here, but there was a car accident in which three leaders of the church here didn't survive, and because of that a lot of families stopped coming. So now, Elder Clark and I are the consulars to the branch president and we sit on the stand with him every Sunday and take care of all the tithing as well.
The first Sunday, one of the speakers didn´t come, so the branch president just looks and me and says, "Looks like you´re up Elder." So I got to speak my first week in the Spanish branch. I ended up just reading the story of Peter walking on the water and then compared it to how everyone is like Peter, in that we´re all trying to walk on the water in life. Something that seems impossible, but can be done as long as we keep our focus on the Savior and not worry about the waves around us. But for those times we do sink, we can always call on the Lord and he will pull us up and back onto the water.
We hear a lot of English music here, just because they think it's cool. So far I've heard everything from Kelly Clarkson to Lady Gaga to Eminem as we walk down the streets and through the grocery store.
So the super market is really different here, in that almost everything you see on the shelves was just packaged that morning, besides things like cereal, but they don't have anything in cans or things that can sit for two years in storage. Milk comes in a plastic, one liter bag, or you can get it in a box, but that's more expensive. They have Frosted Flakes (Little Sugars in Spanish) and Froot Loops here, but they're twice as much as the other cereals. So for our shopping, we just buy some cereal and juice for the week and then we have to come back everyday to buy food to make for lunch.
I had splits for two days with Elder Garcia, and in his area we were teaching a family and needed to use the computer they have to show a movie. They have a three year old who was on the computer with his hands over his ears. We asked him what he was doing and he said that he was listening to his CD, so we told him we wanted to watch a movie and he then asked for the disc so he could set it up. The CD he had in was Michael Jackson.
We were visiting another family with a three year old, and while we were asking the mom some questions, the boy yells from the other room, "¡No piden ellos. Ellos no escuchan! (Don´t ask them, they don´t even listen!)"
There are these things they eat here called alfajors. It's not something you really make, but you just have to buy them. They're basically a cookie sandwich with various things in between and then dipped in chocolate.
We we eating lunch with a husband and his wife and I was sitting on side with Elder Garcia on my left, the husband across the table from us, and his wife to my left on the other end. So we were just talking and then Elder Garcia started talking and I looked over to listen to him and then in my view also was the wife just sitting there breast feeding her baby like it was not big deal. So, I just turned and faced forward the whole time Elder Garcia was talking.
There are theser two pretty cool members in the branch named David, seventeen, and Andreas, fifteen. Andreas is alsways asking us about music because he likes things like Guns N Roses. But all the media here is from America, just translated into Spanish, so Andreas, who is pretty good at Enlgish, will always ask me things like, "So Elder, do you know Sweet Child of Mine by Guns N Roses?" or something like, "Have you ever played Call of Duty?". But then he´ll also ask for help with English too.
|View from the bus ride to Reconquista|
|View from my apartment in Reconquista|
I also have my address below, It may not be in the correct order, but it should get here. Everything gets sent to the mission office and then we get it at our apartment within a week of it arriving to the office.
Elder Joshua Covington Burt
Mission Argentina Resistencia
Entre Rios 435