Monday, November 18, 2013

Who pays the power bill?

Querida familia,                  30 de Octubre 2013

We've been having some interesting problems this week with our land lady that all started on Monday. Just a few hours after waking up, the power in our apartment went out, but we thought nothing of it because the power always goes out in Argentina. So we carried on with our day and saw that other places also had lost power and so we figured that it was nothing more than a city wide issue. Well when we returned later that night there still wasn't power, but everywhere else had lights; including the land lady whose apartment is ten feet from ours.

So the next morning we went to talk with our land lady and found out that she doesn't actually pay our electric bill, but rather we are the ones who need to pay for it. Well that was new information for us because no one had previously told us that. What's more, every single apartment that I've been in has the land lord pay the light bill and we just pay him the rent to cover the electricity. So we went and payed for the electric bill and got our lights back.

Well the next day on Wednesday, the land lady had sent an electrician to come and do maintenance on our air condicioner and he was supposed to come at a certain time, but never showed up. So we wasted time waiting for him. Then he showed up unexpectedly the next morning on Thursday during our studies and made it impossible for us to get any of our own work done. On top of that, he took three hours to do a twenty minute job that I could have done myself. On one point during the cleaning of the air condicioner, the land lady came to see how the progress was going and also to ask how much he was going to charge. Fifty pesos he told her.

Well once he was finished he told us that it was going to cost one hundred pesos; fifty for his labor and fifty for a part that he installed. So we told him to go tell the land lady that he needed to be paid, but he insisted that we were responsible for any repair in the apartment. So we made him give us a receipt of what he did and we took it to the land lady to get reimbursed. 

So we studied the contract of our apartment and found that she indeed does have to pay for maintenance of the apartment. So we gave her that receipt and asked her to reimburse us, but she told us that we had to pay any fees like that. So we told her that the contract says otherwise and she demanded to know where we had come up with an idea like that. So we showed her right where it says that she is responsible for repairs and maintenance  She knew she had to pay, but instead said, "How about this: we'll pay half and half."

Well half and half just didn't cut it when she has to pay in full, but to make it worse the next day she asked us, "why did you ask that electrician to come and do maintenance without authorizing it with me?" What an incredible lie she had concocted. She was now denying that she had even requested the maintenance and was not going to pay a single cent.

We were so bothered by the situation that we started looking for  a new apartment, but the problem is that the apartment we are in is nicer than any of the other apartments that we saw. So we decided to just be meek and accept the charge. If she loves money that much well she can keep it, but it won't serve her at all in the next life.

The strange thing that happened was that we just keep being nice to her and completely dropped the topic. We have since had our usual conversations with her and on Sunday afternoon she said that she feels like moving to Buenos Aires and that if she leaves she is, "leaving us in charge of the door because she has never had problems with us." In other words, she would leave the apartment to us or the mission.

We are pretty excited for Omar and Marta though. We taught Omar about the Priesthood and its functions. We explained that it's the power that we used to give him and his son a blessing, and that it's the same power that we will use to baptize him and his family, and it's the same power that Jesus Christ Himself used to work miracles among the people. After teaching and explaining to him how the Priesthood holder only has power based upon his own personal righteousness and obedience, we invited Omar to receive the Priesthood after being baptized. Without hesitating he said that he would like to receive it and even asked if he would be able to baptize his family (his brothers, sisters, and parents) after receiving the Aaronic Priesthood. We asked Marta is she could support Omar in his Priesthood duties and help him to stay clean and pure in order to always have Priesthood authority and Priesthood power.

On Friday night we did a baptismal interview practice con Marta and Omar in anticipation of the real interview that they'll be having this coming week. Omar's reaction to what we told him we would be doing was, "oh, is that when we have to confess our sins or something like that?" Somewhat jokingly, but somewhat seriously, I asked him "why, what did you do?" He quickly responded, "nothing, nothing.... it's just that one time I found a toy tricycle in the road and couldn't find the owner, so I brought it home and gave it to Javier." So we explained what the interview was, did the practice, and they both did just fine.

What was a really great story that Marta told us while Omar wasn't there was this: Omar is always trying to help his family out and trying to get them interested in the Church, but they're more interested in drinking and not really doing anything productive. His family has even started making fun of him and trying to tear him down for what he is doing. Omar has really come a long way in a short amount of time; he stopped drinking, smoking, works harder, is happier, and has a more positive and hopeful outlook on everything. But now his family is telling him that he will always be the same and that he is never going to be able to change. So he told them, "I'm going to be baptized, and I'm about to get married too."

While things have been great with Omar and Marta, we've been having some problems with Hugo and Belquis, but more specifically with Hugo. Hugo has been having some problems with giving up drinking, or a better saying would be, he's gone back to drinking. He hasn't been reading the scriptures nor has he been praying, but instead he comes home from work and goes out to hang out with his friends who invite him to drink during their get togethers. So on Monday night, just two days ago, we talked with Hugo about what's going on. At first, he was angry and didn't want to talk about it, but as we talked, shared scriptures, and expressed our concern he changed and became more and more open until he had made the resolve to stop drinking. The problem is really his friends, so we made a plan with him of what he can do instead of being with his "friends" (using the word loosely here). 

When we first suggested that he stop hanging out with those friends of his he asked, "what, do I just tell them I don't want to be around them anymore?" "Well no," we said, "but you can tell them that you won't be joining them for the night because you prefer to pass the evening with your family." He said that he only drinks with them when they invite him because he doesn't want to offend him, but we taught that he needs to be even quicker to not offend his Maker.

At the end of our conversation, we gave him a Priesthood blessing and Hugo was more fortified with a greater resolve to do what was expected of him. 

We've also been working with the twenty-five year old daughter of a recent convert named Gisel. Her mom was baptized just a few months ago and her grandpa was baptized about six years ago. She has a pretty good knowledge of what we teach since she has already heard basically everything over the years, but now she just needs to put a few things into practice.

She really does have desires to be baptized, but her issue is that she has been living with her boyfriend for the last five years and he doesn't really have much of a belief in God. It's not that he is against the Church, but rather is just somewhat closed off. Gisel says that he won't change anytime soon, but we told her that if she wants him to participate in the Church and be baptized then she has to invite him to church, pray, and read scriptures with him.

We also went to talk to a boy who comes to church, but doesn't show up in the records; his name is Mauro. We asked him if he had ever been baptized, because he already is eleven years old, and he said yes. So we asked him where he was baptized and he said, Buenos Aires. So we asked him how he was baptized and he said that the pastor put a little bit of water on his forehead. Well all of the sudden it made sense why he didn't show up in the Church's records. So we explained why he needed to be baptized again and how baptism is supposed to be done. His brother, who is a member and was actually baptized, said that the two of them would start coming to church together. When we asked them if they were going to invite their parents, who are also members, to come as well Mauro said, "Sunday is their only day off from work, so they stay home and rest."

os amo,
Elder Burt 

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