Monday, March 11, 2013

Mission Conference in Mercedes

Querido familia,              11 de Marzo 2013
Getting a ride in Paso de los Libres
 Last Tuesday we had a conference for the entire mission that started at ten in the morning. For us, that meant that we had to travel Monday night to another city called Mercedes at stay with the missionaries there for the night in order to get to the conference on time the next day. So, we left from Curuzú at five and got to Mercedes at seven thirty. When we got there, Elder Humphries and I ended up splitting up and going with one of the Elders that are living there so that they could get twice as much work done that night in their area. Well it just so happens that the Elder that I worked with that night is Elder Rivera from Lima, Peru and as luck would have it he was none other than Justin's roommate in the MTC in Peru.
Elder Farnbach, Elder Clark and Elder Burt
So for this mission conference, we had to leave at three in the morning to take a six hour bus ride to Resistencia, but we had a really good time there. Sister Heyman spoke to us and told her experience about her stroke and the recovery process that took place afterwards. Once the mission had heard about her accident, there was a mission wide fast for her and she said that she could feel the power and influence of everyone's prayers and fasts supporting her during her rehabilitation. It really is a miracle that in less than three months she had a stroke, spent time in a rehab clinic in Buenos Aires, went to the United States for further rehabilitation, and then returned to Argentina as if nothing had happened.

President Heyman spoke to us about King David and his story. He mostly put an emphasis on the things that David did in order to gain favor in the sight of the Lord and how he was prepared to be the great king and spiritual man that he was. He then talked about his achievements and things he accomplished than no other king had done. He also spoke about the downfall of King David and the things he did that lead up to that. It was interesting because it all started with just small things that he had done, like not being where he was supposed to be or being somewhere at the wrong time and not removing himself from bad situations until he eventually committed two of the three most grave sins and lost his exaltation.

After the conference, we had a couple hours to eat lunch, which included a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and chocolate chip cookies made by Sister Heyman, and talk with the other elders from the mission. I was able to talk with Elder Schumacher for the first time since September, so that was fun to trade stories about what has been happening and then to speak only in Spanish with each other, something that we've never done in our time together, but after five months in the country it is something that we can do with ease.

Elder Schumacher, Elder Clark, Elder Burt and Elder Waldron
On Wednesday and Tuesday, we had exchanges with the Elders in Paso de Los Libres, so I spent those two days there with Elder Diaz, who is from Salta, Argentina. It was interesting to have a latino companion for the first time, even if it was only for two days. I had been wondering how I would be able to do with a native Spanish speaker for a companion just because of the language, but I didn't have any problems speaking with him. Elder Humphries and I speak only in Spanish all day as it is and if there is a word I want to use or hear that I don't already know, I carry a small notebook in my shirt pocket to write down the words and find them later in the dictionary. During my time with Elder Diaz, we talked a little bit about music and he wanted to know what some songs meant that he listened to in English and wanted to know if I knew the songs from Argentina, so I sang "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" in Spanish and he just laughed and asked how I knew that song. I don't think he knew that that movie is from the States and that Madonna doesn't speak Spanish.

On Friday morning, we had a wedding for one of Elder Humphries recent converts. They had an interesting experience because Estela, the lady who got baptized, wasn't actually married to her husband by the law when she got baptized, so they kind of went through the process a little bit backwards, but they got it all worked out.

Later that night, we were talking with President Benitez, the president of the branch, and Elder Humphries was telling him a story about how his ex-girlfriend got married. During his story, President Benitez said to Elder Humphries, "entonces, no es manzana? (so she isn't an apple then?)" We both had no idea what he was talking about, but it made sense when he finished by saying, "porque no es pera. (because she isn't a pear.)" It's a joke because "no es pera" means that "she isn't a pear" and "no espera" means that "she doesn't wait." I thought it was hilarious, but Elder Humphries didn't like it as much.

So every branch and ward has their members who are just a little bit crazy, but there are two here (and when you only have ten active members that's a big percent of crazy). This lady named Irma is having some issues with another member named Brother Gomez. What happened is that Irma and another sister made empanadas to sell and so Brother Gomez bought a dozen of them. However, they weren't cooked all the way through. Well, instead of just not saying anything, he not only took the effort to tell Irma that they weren't cooked all the way through, but he told that daughter or the other sister to, "tell your mom that the empanadas that she made weren't cooked all the way through," and then he told the other sister himself. So for now, Brother Gomez has a few less friend in the branch.

Sister Irma has a bit of a crazy situation right now though because she is taking care of three kids from one of the other sisters in the branch because she went to Corrientes to visit her daughter. Well the thing is that Irma hasn't had contact with her and it has been nine or ten days since she left. Elder Humphries is starting to think that perhaps the sister who left to Corrientes abandoned her kids with Irma. We're trying to help her, but she doesn't want anyone to know what's going on and asked us not to tell the other members, especially the branch president. We'll just have to keep pestering her until she agrees to let the church help her or we'll just have to get the branch involved without her permission.

Other than what's been going, the weather here is starting to cool down a bit; it may just be that I'm in a cooler part of Argentina now. Because there is no day light savings time here, the sun goes down at around eight-thirty every night and is high in the sky by seven in the morning, but it has been that way since September when I got to Argentina.

os amo,
Elder Burt

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