Saturday, December 31, 2011
Our mission is very large, but the majority of the missionaries serve in a small geographical area very close to the city center. The first map is an enlargement of that area.
The second map is a map of the entire mission, however, the boundaries are not noted on the map and there are areas on the map that are not in the mission. I marked Marcos Paz on the map before I scanned it to give a reference point compared to the first map.
For me, it worked best to download these maps to my desktop and then print them landscape format. I will continue to try and improve the information and hope that this will be adequate in meantime.
Monday, December 26, 2011
It has been a little bit tricky finding the hours and minutes for orientation with our new group of refuerzos. Fortunately for us, they are enthusiastic and patient with the unusualness of it all.
This morning we met at the mission offices and found out that the bus that was sent to us for the day did not have enough seats to accommodate everyone. A remis was hired, which followed us through the city so we could give everyone a little look at downtown, which is not in our mission.
We had a field trip to the park for a little church history and a mid-morning snack, at which point, we realized that we had not only our mid-morning snack, but their companions, (who were back at the offices receiving their own training) as well. Everyone gladly ate double their portion however!
Then, we traveled to the mission home. Normally when we ask for questions, there aren’t many to be had. I guess they have all been here long enough to have a ton of questions, and we tried to field them before lunch.
After lunch, we gave them some more information about the training program that they will be completing with their companions, which spawned a new set of questions.
The bus that came back to pick them up and take them home decided it was done waiting and took off, leaving us to hire 5 remises, which caravanned them back again to where we began this morning.
It was another gorgeous day. Most of them are sporting suntanned faces from their daily adventures. In between all the things we needed to share with them, we learned about their impressions of their first Christmas in Argentina as well as their successful and, unfortunately, some unsuccessful attempts to call home yesterday.
Generally, they tell us that they are super tired at the end of every day and sleeping better than ever. They are experiencing the fact that the “gospel vocabulary” that they learned in the MTC was great for church on Sunday, but there is a whole lot more. They are learning an incredible amount of new words and phrases everyday, even surprising themselves as they are beginning to communicate with others on the streets, in the trains and on the buses. We think they are doing great!
Sunday, December 25, 2011
The Carter Family
Christmas starts early here…like at 12:01 am. First there is an amazing barrage of fireworks. I have never seen or heard anything like it in my life. Just imagine everyone in the city is sending off giant fireworks, the really huge kind, all at the same time. We were watching them from the balcony upstairs, and we couldn’t even keep track of all the places to look. That went on excessively for about an hour, and fairly consistently, but not as intensely until at least 2:30 am.
The tradition in Argentina is that the family goes outside to do fireworks and Santa comes while they are outside, so then they go back in the house and open presents.
About 11:15 pm, we were getting pretty tired here at the mission home, so we decided to open our presents first and then watch the fireworks show.
Amid the fireworks are these paper floating lanterns with fire inside. They look pretty much like the lanterns in the movie Tangled, except, of course, they were real. We watched them floating along all over the city. Families make a wish and then set them free. If the lantern blows away, then your wish comes true, but if your lantern crashes…sorry.
Our neighbors launched a couple of lanterns. Really, they are so incredibly beautiful to watch. I can’t wait to buy some next year and make our own wishes.
The pictures really just don’t begin to do it justice.
After church, the office elders came to the house for lunch and to make phone calls home. I am thinking about all the happy families that are able to chat with their missionaries today all over the world, but I am especially thinking about ours. How lucky we are to have this opportunity to check in with our families and share our love.
Wishing you all the joy of Christmas!
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
Elder Davis and Elder Aldave – Castellar
Elder San Martin and Elder Shepherd - Lujan
Elder Steele and Elder George – Chivilcoy
Elder Sepulveda and Elder Jensen – Marcos Paz
Elder Foster and Elder Weiss – Gonzalez Catan
Elder Andrus and Elder Poeppelmeier – Moreno
Elder Wilson and Elder Hernandez – Oeste
Elder Barrios and Elder Schmeil - Merlo
Elder Rounds – Ramos Mejia
Elder Cervantes and Elder Valencia – Aldo Bonzi
Elder Goodworth and Elder Gutierrez – Traveling Assistants
Elder Baudon and Elder Quackenbush – Office Assistants
We had a great meeting today planning for next year. Afterwards, they all received a little surprise, since a friend brought candy canes from the States. One of the zone leaders said at the beginning of the day that he only hopes that he has a candy cane in his package from home. I don’t know yet, if he did or not, but at least we were able to make that Christmas wish come true. Another one of the missionaries said that he had never seen a real candy cane before, only in the movies. They all put them in their shirt pockets and left the mission home looking quite festive.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
All of the excitement of a transfer, plus all of the excitement of Christmas in the mission were all wrapped up into one BIG EVENT…
We had Christmas lunch together and then the missionaries put on an amazing talent show. Almost all of the zones got together and planned something special. We had two creative versions of A Christmas Carol. In one version Scrooge was a contact that rejected the gospel. In another version, Elder Scrooge was a missionary not living up to his commitments. Several zones sang and read scripture verses. In one zone that has hermanas, one of the sisters took on the role of primary pianist and the other, primary music leader. All of the elders were primary boys. They moved their ties to their heads like Indian headbands and sang the primary hymn Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus complete with ALL of the hand motions and Samuel standing on a chair! Being a long time primary music leader myself, I loved it!
We had beautiful concert music from some very talented missionaries in the chapel and listened to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s performance of I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. Presidente shared a special Christmas message as well.
Then it was back to the cultural hall again for the transfers!
It was so very wonderful to be with the missionaries. I am quite sure that we had the very best Christmas Party ever!
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
We have some traditions at the mission home for the last day with our missionaries. After lunch, we sing and share testimonies.
It is a beautiful experience and the mission home is always filled with reverence as the missionaries reflect on their experiences and their personal growth.
Presidente and I give each one a last abrazo and handshake and we all promise to stay in each others hearts…
and keep in touch on Facebook, at the very least.
Several of the missionaries brought up how frustrated they were when they received their calls more than two years ago, to have to wait so long before they could report to the mission. I had to tell them that it was OUR blessing, because otherwise, we never would have known this wonderful group of men.