Monday, January 28, 2013

New sister missionaries

Querdio familia,                         28 January 2013

This last Tuesday, the transfers came and went and I'm staying in Reconquista for the next five weeks to come. I'm glad I was able to stay though so that I can keep working with the families that we are teaching and see the branch grow.

The branch is about to see some tremendous growth because we recently had senior missionaries come and just last Wednesday we had a companionship of sister missionaries show up as well. The sisters are going to be working with the entire city as far as members and recent converts are concerned, but as for teaching and finding new people they will be working in the north west part of the of Elder Waldron and I.

We knew the sisters would be coming a week in advance and we also knew that they would be taking a part of our area, so we were worried about what that would do to us as far as the people we were teaching. Luckily, the area was divided so that we will keep all the people we are teaching, our recent converts, and some of our favorite members, minus one family that we've only taught twice. (Funny enough, we saw this aforementioned family waiting outside of another church in the other part of the city just last night after a meeting; at least we know that they are at least attending church even if it isn't ours... for now). Really the only problem we have had because of the sisters arrival is that we don't have a cell phone because we gave ours to them.

During the transfers, Elder King from the other area, Vera (two hours away by bus), left and so his companion, Elder Contrera, from Uruguay, worked with us for a day while he awaited the arrival of his new companion. I've always thought Elder Contrera was pretty funny in the small amounts of time that I've been with him during meetings. He is, however, overflowing with energy which doesn't give aid to the effectiveness of our studies. He is really great though at contacting people and sitting down with new people for the first time. From there though, he needs to work a little bit on his teaching because he doesn't really allow space for his companion (Elder Waldron and I in this instance) to talk. During one of our lessons with him, a lady told Elder Waldron and I that we don't sound as good as Elder Contrera does, but then Elder Contrera explained that he is from Uruguay and just looks like he is from the States.

So the Olivera family that we've been working with is an interesting unit. In the house lives the dad, his two sons (Javier and Eber whom we are teaching), and his two daughters. The mom, Olga, is also there every day, even though they have been separated for years, so that she can cook in the kitchen there; apparently they are still in business together. Well, one day we went by to teach them and it was just René and Olga who were there, sitting outside. René invited us to go in and talk with him, so we sat down and started teaching him. At the end of our lesson, someone came to the door who required René attention and so he walked out and Olga walked in. She seemed a little distressed, so I asked here how things were and she replied that they were good and bad at the same time. She then told us about how her son, Javier, keeps telling her that she needs to come to church with him (she is a member already, but inactive) and that he wants to read the scriptures with her. So she feels frustrated that he has never done any of things before and now he is telling her to do it. Really though, she was frustrated because Javier is twenty-one and lives at home without a job and doesn't help in the family business. By this point René had returned and joined in on the conversation about his kids. In the end, it was determined that they (Javier and Eber) indeed have a long way to go, but they've also come a long way in a short time. Javier then brought Olga to church the following Sunday and she seemed like she wants to come back to the Church.

On Sunday afternoon, we went to see them after church and to have a lesson with them. The plan was that we were going to watch The Testaments with them and eat, but we had a surprise meeting later in the evening with all the leaders from the district and had to change our plans. We still watched a movie, however a twenty-minute movie about the Restoration instead of the one about the Nephites. We had another problem though too; the DVD player remote was missing and so we couldn't change the language of the movie to Spanish. Well it just so happened that the lesson Javier had in the church earlier that morning was about Joseph Smith, so he started telling his dad, René, all about him and what he did. He then suggested that we just watch the movie anyway and that we could translate. So that's what we did. I translated most of it and answered some questions along the way and then we got to the First Vision Javier turned to René and told him that, "This is part, this is the part. Pay attention to what happens." He had seen this part of the movie earlier that day in the class and knew what was coming.

I just finished the book 'Jesus the Christ' after having started it at the beginning of the month. It was a really good book that begins with the Pre-Mortal existence and continues until the Millennium. There is a lot of insightful thoughts that Elder Talmage included in his writing and completely changes the way some passages of scriptures are viewed; not in that it changes their meaning, but adds more significance to it or increases he reverence in which it is viewed. All in all, a good book for all.
os amo,
Elder Burt

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sofia gets baptized...

Querido familia,            January 21, 2013

So the other week Sofía didn't want to get baptized with her parents, Domingo and Lorenza because they both kind of fell in the font as they were getting baptized by David. She got scared and didn't want to get in the water, so we postponed her baptism until this Saturday that passed. We tried a lot of different ideas to help her overcome her fear of the water (we even got permission to baptize her in the little swimming pool they have in their yard), but in the end she decided that having the baptism at the chapel with just her family would be fine. So that's what we did. Elder Waldron did the baptism in the water with her and we invited David to come and be the second witness. Other than that, it was just her mom, dad and cousin, Ana (who also wants to get baptized now).

After Sofía's baptism, we were invited to go to Domingo and Lorenza's house to have dinner with them. Domingo said that we were going to have asado and we weren't sure if he was just kidding or not because he is always pulling pranks and telling jokes, but sure enough when we got to the house the oldest son, Maxí, was working on an asado. 
We're pretty sure that Domingo is going to be the branch president or something like that before long. Yesterday on Sunday, he was interviewed by one of the district counselors to receive the Aaronic Priesthood.

There is a man who all the Elders in this area are friends with named René Olivera, but he has always turned down the invitation to learn from the missionaries or get baptized. Well, we started teaching two of his sons, one who is twenty-two and the other is twenty. We started off just by having a conversation with them and the older brother, Javier, was talking a lot about how he wants to make some changes in his life. René was also with us during this second visit with them and he told us that he is going to be where he his kids are and is going to support them. So now René is starting to take part in the lessons. So, the next time went by we taught them about the Gospel and the Restoration by Joseph Smith. During our next lesson with them, we reviewed a lot of the things had talked with them about and made sure that they understood a few key elements about the authority of the Priesthood. During our lesson, the younger brother said, "If you tell me that Joseph Smith was a prophet I´ll believe you." So we said, "That's great, but we don't want you to take our word for it alone." So we invited him to pray and receive his own testimony. At the end of this lesson, We asked Javier to offer the prayer and then his younger brother jumped in and said that he would actually like to give the prayer if that was alright.

We invited the two of them to come to church and the younger of the two brothers said, "I don't know about him, but I'm committing myself to go. I'm going to be there." The other also committed to come to church the following Sunday, although not with quite as much zeal. However, they were both present in the sacrament meeting yesterday along with the younger brother's girlfriend. 

While we were at the church, we made plans to visit them later that night at six, but only the younger brother and the dad, René,  were there when we got there. René told us that everyone else went camping, but the younger brother refused to go because he already had plans with the Elders. So he is a pretty solid guy. Javier came back as we were about to start the lesson, but the girlfriend wasn't present. From there, we had a really good lesson with them about prayer and baptism and René even committed to going to church this coming Sunday (he has always told us that the reason that he doesn't go to a church is because he doesn't want to make a commitment that he might not keep). 

The only problem so far is that the younger brother is living with his girlfriend and they have a child together. So, we explained to him that in order to get baptized he would have to first comply with the Law of Chastity, which for him would mean either getting married or finding separate residence for himself and his girlfriend. Now this news did not diminish his excitement, but it did pose the question of what he would do. When we first presented him with this he just said, "But I'm so young." Obviously we don't want him to separate from his girlfriend and child, so we told him that now in his prayers he could include if marriage was something that we be a course for him. The more he thought about it, the more he liked the idea.

There is a family in our area in which the parents were baptized and only one of their six kids. What happened though is that they were baptized six years ago and havn't been to church in a few years. As of late, the mom has been taking their family to an Evangelist church for the past three or four months. We've been trying to sit down with this family since I got here with Elder Clark, but we've always been dismissed by one of the kids when they say that their mom said that she can't attend to us in that moment. Well, a few days ago we talked to the oldest daughter outside of the house and she told us that if we came back on Thursday at seven we would be able to find the whole family. So that's what we did. However, we got there and the mom started to give us the speech about how their Evangelist now and they don't really have any interest in the church; but then, during her speech, he husband came came home from work and when he saw us he said, "Hey Elders, come on in." The wife didn't seem too happy with this turn of events. So, we went in the backyard and sat down with them and just started talking about the church and life in general with Brother Aquino and his wife, During this conversation, however, we were all kind of spread out, so Sister Aquino could really only talk to me just because of where she was sitting and so all the while during our conversation she kept trying to ask me questions in order to stump me about the Bible or something, but the thing is I can't be stumped. Brother Aquino told us that he doesn't like the Evangelist church at all and doesn't feel anything there. Then he said that he'd been praying and a few months ago he said that he had a dream that the Mormon church was true. His wife looked at me and said, "Can you believe him?" So I asked her, "Are you asking if I believe that he can receive personal revelation through prayer?" She had a look of defeat but nevertheless asked me to answer, so I told her  that yes he can receive personal revelation and that God talks to His children. 

I would say she was kind of against us during that first visit, and there were plenty of opportunities she presented with her questions where it would have been easy to tear down the Evangelist church and prove her wrong using the Bible, but that's not what I did. We were just polite, kind, and offered to help them with anything the wanted to get done. The second time we went by, we didn't get to sit down and have a lesson with them because Brother Aquino was adding an addition on to their house. We offered to help, but he didn't accept, so we took a few minutes to talk with Sister Aquino about her plans for the house and told her to call us so that we could come help build. She was a lot more pleasant during the second visit to say the least. 

This week is transfer week, so I don't know if I will still be here in Reconquista or not. Having been here since September, it would make sense that I would either be moved this week or if not this week, six weeks from now when the next transfers come around. I would like to stay here for another six weeks just to see the progress of the branch and to keep working with these families we are teaching.

os amo,
Elder Burt

Monday, January 14, 2013

Domingo and Lorenza's baptism

Querido familia,

This Saturday we had the Baptism of Domingo and Lorenza Ayala. It was also supposed to be the baptism of their youngest daughter, Sofía, as well, but we had some problems with her.

For the baptisms, we asked a member from the branch, David Simonini, to be the one to perform the ordinances with them. Well what happened was that Domingo is a bit bigger than David and Lorenza is was just a little too heavy for David. So, when they went to go under the water, they both had their feet fall out from underneath them. No one hit their head on the steps or anything, but by no means was it graceful. Well, Sofía was the last in line to go, but when it came her turn she wouldn't go because she was worried that she too would fall. So we talked with her for a few minutes while the rest of the branch waited patiently. In the end, she just didn't want to do it, so she didn't get baptized this weekend as planned.

Later, I was talking with David and he commented that we had neglected to tell him that two of the people he was going to baptize were gordisímos (really, really big/heavy people). 
So now that Domingo and Lorenza are baptized, we (meaning Elder Waldron and I as well as them) are going to be working with their kids to get them baptized too. Domingo is just a really cool guy who can always put a funny comment in anywhere; he'll probably be the district president, if not the branch president, before too long. But we were talking with Domingo about the Priesthood and how he can get ready to receive the Priesthood and then baptize his kids in a couple weeks.

Just a few days ago, we had two senior missionaries named Elder and Sister Brimhall came to Reconquista and we spent our morning today with them. Mostly we were just looking for a couple things that they needed as well as showing them where some things are. They don't have any mode of transportation, so we had to figure out the erratic bus schedule for them as well (We don't take the buses anywhere, so we didn't already know). They're funny though. Elder Brimhall served his mission in Peru fifty years ago and still remembers his Spanish pretty well. He speaks a little bit slower and doesn't speak the way they do here, but he seems like he won't really have any troubles with the language. His wife, however, doesn't know any Spanish, which made it a little funny when we were at the super market with them and she was being signed up for a membership card to the store.

Our first meeting with them was interesting though. We were walking over to their apartment to meet up with them and the two other Elders and when we got there, they (Elder and Sister Brimhall) were already outside talking with one of the counselors to the district president, Presidente Pereyra. President Pereyra was trying to explain a few things to them and when he saw us, he just started giving us instructions for things they needed. When we set out to leave, they first thing Sister Brimhall asks her husband is if he has the key. He didn't and the door was shut. He just said, "I thought I had it." It was just funny the way that it happened.

Things are going well with Elder Waldron though. There are times when I feel like he does a lot of inappropriate things, perhaps not inappropriate for someone else, but for a missionary it isn't something that he should be doing. It's not like it's big things, just things like making comments in English during lessons (which I worry will offend or make uneasy the people we're teaching) or checking out girls. What's really funny though is that lately Elder Sharapata and Waldron have been trying to show how much better their city is than the others's (Elder Sharapata is from San Francisco and Elder Waldron is from Philadelphia).

I feel like the week, for the most part, went by fairly uneventful, which could be a good thing I guess that we aren't running into any types of trouble or problems along the way. Right now though, we're going to be spending a fair amount of time looking for new people to teach now that all the people we've been teaching are getting baptized. A lot of it will be teaching Domingo´s family though; his kids and some brothers and sisters that live here in Reconquista.

os amo,
Elder Burt

Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning Photos

 This is from the asado we had on Christmas Eve with the Agonil family and the other elders. The pig is the main course, served with cow heart and intestines.

This pretty much sums up our experience with the balloons....

 Christmas morning with Elder Sharapata.

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Year's Eve

Querido familia,                                                          7 January 2013

On the thirty-first of December, we were given the same extensions as we received on Christmas Eve and were allowed to either be with a member family from eight until ten-thirty or be in our apartment with the other Elders starting at eight. The other Elders that live with us were not invited to dinner with anyone, but Elder Waldron and I were invited to dinner with the Gomez family the same day.  So we made plans with them to be there until nine-thirty, at which point we would leave and return to our apartment; however, it began to rain so hard to make it so that we could not leave from the apartment. The family lives a thirty minute walk away, even longer with mud and increasingly difficult with advert weather. So, Elder Waldron called Sister Gomez and cancelled our dinner plans and we instead spent the evening with Elder Sharapata and Garcia. As the night progressed, the weather cleared up and the storm passed, leaving behind streets filled with water and cool, fresh air.

Because we weren't really prepared for this sudden turn of events brought by the unannounced storm, we had to make a frantic run to the grocery store through the rain in order to buy food for the evening. So, we donned our jackets and umbrellas and set out to brave the storm. The store is only one block from our apartment, but we still had to jump across the rivers that had already formed in the streets in order to get there.

Once we had everything we needed and had returned to the apartment, we were able to just relax for the moment and take some time to ourselves. As the night grew a little later, we began to carry out our plans of food and activities for the night. Elder Garcia made chili for us and then to go with it we had corn bread and ice cream. We have access to the roof of our apartment, so we ended up putting our table on the roof to eat. After dinner, we played clue until the New Year came (we all lost).

This coming Saturday is the baptism for Domingo, Lorenza and their daughter, Sofía. Domingo has just really got pretty funny lately as he opens up more and more around us. We had a practice baptismal interview with him. During his mock interview, his wife, daughter, two of his sons, brother and cousin were present. While that may have been a pressure situation for some, it was more like an audience to him. Now we know that his is sarcastic, but he is also serious when he needs to be, but when we asked him what it was he remembered about the law of chastity he said, "It´s when you have to give up all your women and just stick with one." So we asked him how he was coming along with that and he said, "Well, I gave up the other nine and now I'm planning on being true to this one only, which actually works out really well because now I can focus more on my demon son [looking at his nineteen year-old son, Jaquien]; just look at his eyes, I can see at least two demons in there."

We did have an interesting, first-time experience on Sunday though. All day Saturday it had been raining, it was so strong in the morning that we were told to stay inside by our zone leaders and we didn't get to leave until forty-five minutes later than we normally do. But this rain, although it had diminished throughout the day, was still going as a light sprinkle on Sunday morning. As a result, there was mud everywhere in the neighborhoods where we work and our members and investigators live. So that had a somewhat significant impact on the church attendance this week. When nine o'clock rolled around, we found ourselves in the chapel with but three other people: Sister Petroli who had come with two of her kids. Also, the member who brings the bread every week didn't come and we found that there was nothing in the church that we could use in place of bread for the sacrament and we had to go to a small store a block away to buy bread. We still had a meeting though. We started with a hymn and prayer, sang another him as Elder Waldron broke the bread, partook of the sacrament, shared our testimonies, sang another hymn, and closed with a prayer before leaving back to our own places of residence.

As far as things go with my companion, Elder Waldron, he is a fine friend, but not a good worker; in fact, one of his weekly goals this week included "walk less." I don't think he is going to achieve that one. The problem with the situation is that technically he has the final say in all our decisions, but I'm really the one who is in charge and recognized by the members as the leader of our duo. The problem is that he just isn't responsible and seems like he is ready to go home. His lack of accountability and irresponsibility almost became a very big problem for us, and future missionaries though, because there was a sister in the branch who broke her wrist and requested a blessing and of this request I had no knowledge, because it was told to Elder Waldron, but he never told me and then he either forgot about it or just decided not to say anything. So, a few days later I found out from another member that she had requested a blessing and was asking why we never went to do it. Luckily, we were able to get to this sister to give her the blessing before she went for her surgery, but things like that worry me because if we hadn't gotten that done we could have lost the trust of some of the members and the future missionaries would also suffer the consequences also. Transfers are coming up though in two weeks, so we'll see if we're still together then, but I don't think we will be; which also worries me as to what will happen to this area in his hands as he gets closer and closer to his time to go home.

os amo,
Elder Burt

P.S. I wasn't able to send pictures again this week because this computer I'm on won't recognize my flash drive SD reader.

Christmas in Argentina

Querdio familia,                31 December 2012

Christmas was a little bit different here than in years past; partly because the people here place a higher emphasis on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas itself. So, on the night before Christmas we, Elder Waldron and I as well as the other two Elders that we live with (Elder Shararpata and Elder Garcia), went to have dinner with a family from the other branch. Earlier that same we had gone to their house in order to help them get things cleaned up (there was piles of sand and brick that were in the way and needed to be moved) before the festivities of the night came. During the afternoon, Elder Sharapata was able to get a guitar from one of the members and he wanted us to write a song for the family that we would be eating with that night; after all, it was something small that we could do for them since they were going to spend, what could be assumed to be, quite a lot of money for this dinner. The song was pretty simple in the end; the first verse and chorus written in Spanish and second verse in English,  following the melody of one of the more tranquil songs by Green Day, although I don't remember which. We arrived Later in the evening just after eight and still had time to wait before the food was ready. So, Brother Agonil played some Spanish songs on the guitar that Elder Sharapata brought with him with the occasional accompaniment of Elder Garcia.

Soon the food was ready and what they had prepared for us was an asado that had been slow cooked over a fire for about five hours. An asado is just an Argentine barbecue; meat placed on a metal grill that sits on the ground above a small fire. The food they prepared included tripe, chicken, half a pig, and cow heart, all of which turned out to be good. 

Once ten-thirty rolled around, it was time for us to return to our apartment. To finish the night, we decided to join the rest of the city in lighting paper balloons that fly into the air and eventually burn up. However, the tradition is to light them at midnight, so we had some time to wait. We went to the roof of our apartment, listened to Christmas music, and read the ´Night Before Christmas´ together as we awaited the first moments of Christmas.

Before long, midnight had come and brought with it Christmas day and a display of fireworks from all over the city. While all around us we could see balloons and fireworks ascending into the night sky, we were having some trouble getting our own balloons going. Deciding that it wouldn´t be something feasible from the roof, considering the wind that was present,. we went down into our balcony space to give the balloons the much needed shelter in order to light. We only had one lighter, so we were trying them one at a time, which ended up being better in the end because they were definitely a team effort. With a lot of effort and patience, the first balloon was lit and was sent into the air. Moments later, the wind took over and the balloon was sent into the neighbors tree where it caught fire and burned into nothing (the balloon, not the tree).

So the first balloon didn't quite work out and ended up causing some worry, but we went on to the second balloon, there being four in total. This balloon was approached with a bit more experience and was lit somewhat faster. We decided that the fuel source, a cube of a plastic type of paper, needed to burn for a bit in order to fill the balloon with a sufficient amount of hot air in order to give it strength to resist the wind. As the balloon took to the sky we cheered at what appeared to be success. However, this balloon also fell... right into our clothes that were hanging on the clothes line. Nothing was burned luckily. The third balloon went off with the same initial success of the second, but it to fell victim to the wind and landed on a neighboring roof. By now, we were a little preoccupied that these balloons were more trouble than they were worth if it meant setting the neighborhood on fire, but nevertheless we lit the fourth. Now in order to lit these balloons, we had been utilizing two sets of hands: one to hold the balloon steady and one set to light the fuel source. However, due to a breakdown in communication, the fourth balloon was released to early by one set of hands and it ended up catching itself in fire and burning up before it ever had a chance to soar. And thus it was with our balloons, but it was still a good Christmas Eve all the same.

We went to bed just after midnight, arising just a few hours later at eight in morning. Elder Sharapata and I were the only ones who had packages to open, and mine was actually half a package having opened the other half on the nineteenth. So we set up our cameras with timers and took some pictures opening up our boxes. I also was able to buy a couple things the day before to open this morning: a jersey from one of the more popular soccer clubs, Boca, and a jacket to protect me from the the rain that visits us so frequently.

The rest of the morning went like any other day starting with morning studies before leaving at ten to take care of a couple things that needed to be done. Before long, we returned to the apartment to make lunch. We then continued our day with our afternoon studies before leaving for the chapel. When we got there to make our calls home, there was another family already there that was using the phone to call their son in Peru who is also serving a mission. So, we had to wait a little bit, but we passed the time talking with President Alegre, the branch president, who was also there.

After I made my call, we had a meeting between us and the other leaders of the church to plan for coming month. Not surprisingly, only half of the people showed up, the half that was already there (Elder Waldron, President Alegre and myself). I don't why there was a meeting planned on Christmas, but that just goes to show that there is a higher emphasis placed on the parties and festivities of Christmas Eve rather than Christmas itself. All the same, we got our Sunday planned and ready. Elder Waldron then when in to make his calls home while I remained with our branch president.

This Saturday we had three baptisms: Hernan Galarza, Belen Gauna, and Exequiel Gauna. All three of them are under eighteen and therefore require parental permission to be baptized. So, we went to meet with Hernan's parents about his baptism and to obtain their written permission. During our visit with them, they had many questions for us about the life of a missionary as well as the church. This was actually the first time that we've been able to sit down with the parents of Hernan together and the first time we've even met his dad at all. The both expressed their gratitude that their kids were following in good paths and making good decisions. We ended up having a discussion with the parents and then left them with a Book of Mormon and a reading assignment. During this visit with them, Betty, Hernan's mom, made and offered us coffee. Before denying the drink or testing it, the question was asked, "Sister, what type of drink is this?" The answer came back as expected, "Coffee." Before we could even say anything, Hernan spoke up and said, "Mom, we don´t drink coffee." Had I been closer to Hernan I would have given him a high five in this moment because here he was, a nine year old boy, telling his mom that not only do the Elders, but also he himself, does not drink coffee because it is commanded that we not partake of it.

There was so much more that went on this week, but there just isn't enough time to write it all. I wasn't able to send pictures this week because the computer that I'm using doesn't have a working USB port, but I´ll send them next week.

os amo,
Elder Burt

Christmas Day phone call

How Exciting!!  
Even though we were half a world away in London, we got to talk to Josh on Christmas Day. He sure sounds the same and it's hard to believe he's been gone for eight months. Here are the things we talked about:

First of all, I asked why it took two months for him to receive his Halloween package. He said that customs is very strict about packages coming into the country, so each person is only allowed to pick up six packages a day. He doesn't know how often someone from the mission home goes to pick up packages, but it's certainly not every day. So all the packages coming into the country for all the missionaries are put in a list just waiting for it's turn to be picked up. So it looks like packages need 2-3 months to get to him in time. Luckily he received his Halloween package just in time for his birthday and Christmas, looks like his birthday and Christmas package should be there just in time for Valentines Day!

I asked Josh if he was eating enough food because he looks so thin. He said that he's skinny because he's walking 20 miles a day and doesn't get any junk food. So now we know the secret to losing all body fat...who knew?  Josh said that the areas were recently split and their apartment is no longer in the area they work in. He said it is a very fast 30 minute walk in each direction just to get to where they're going each morning. In fact, his only complaint is that his new companion doesn't walk fast enough so that they can get more done. He also works out in his apartment, push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks etc. 

As you noticed from Josh's last letter, his new favorite food is onions. I know, hard to believe, but it's true. He said that he just loves them on everything. He made himself a birthday meal of hamburgers with plenty of onions and ketchup. He said that eating bizarre things is more normal than not. Just last week he had cow heart and tripe (that is the lining of the cow's stomach in case you didn't didn't know, and please don't tell Josh in case he doesn't know). Josh and his companion were at a member's home for dinner when he noticed a bone attached to his meat. Upon closer inspection he noticed that it was a rib cage. They instantly wondered what they were eating that could possible have such a small rib cage and later found out that it was a frog. Apparently, they eat anything in Argentina. All of the Elders got together for Christmas dinner at a member's home, but they still don't know what it was that they were served. After dinner, they went to the church to make their phone calls home to their families. That is the only phone available for them to use.

Josh said thanks for all the money that was given to him. After he got an email from Grandma Wanda that she put money in his account, he went out and bought a very nice rain jacket. It was 400 pesos, about $100. He said that it will make it easier to work instead of having to carry an umbrella. His area is so remote and humble that there isn't a lot of shopping, just things for basic needs, like food. He did say that with his gift money he also purchased a soccer jersey.

I asked Josh if he would like some shoe polish as his shoes look so dirty in his pictures. He said, "Mom, the whole county is dirty."  I told Josh that we like the buzz he's had in his pictures and asked who cuts his hair. He does! He's been cutting his own hair the whole time he's been in Argentina. I asked if there are member who are willing and know how to cut hair and he said that there are not a lot of people wanting to serve the LDS missionaries. 

Josh said the kids hate Americans because they think we start all the wars, and the adults hate Britain. If you are reading this and don't know the history between England, Argentina and the Falkland Islands, look it up. Funny enough, the people of the Falkland Islands want to be British and part of the British Commonwealth. 

That's most of the story, I told him that we're all so proud of him, he is truly a good example to all who know him!