Tuesday, November 29, 2011

army of the Lord


Every Monday when the missionaries go to the cybers to send their weekly emails to Presidente and their families, they receive a newsletter from the mission. It contains the data for the mission for the past week as well as a look at the month to date statistics. The newsletter is called The Sol, and normally it has messages from the Presidente, the assistants and the office elders among others. Under the announcements, there is often a picture. I loved the “edited” picture this week…especially the shields with the mission logo!


Ejercito de la misión Buenos Aires Oeste...a la batalla!

Army of the mission, Buenos Aires West…to the battle!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

chilvilcoy district conference at bragado

DSC09491While the majority of the land mass of our mission is campo, only 22 of our 182 missionaries work in the campo. On our way to conference, we see oreo cows




and a lot of fields; green

DSC09486   DSC09487 

and white, ready to harvest.


John Deere speaks Spanish. We also see many storage facilities.


DSC09453 DSC09456 

We drive for several hours. Then we arrive at the District Conference held in Bragado today. There is a youth meeting first with about 20 kids from 5 different branches. We hear 4 of them speak later in the general conference. They are impressive. Their small branches of 20 to 50 people are sustaining valiant spirits who are preparing to serve missions and strengthen their communities.

After the youth meeting everyone goes outside and has snacks on the lawn before the general session starts half an hour later. I think it is a terrific idea. I eat the medialunas packed in the car intended for later.

DSC09462DSC09469DSC09470   DSC09465DSC09459 DSC09471   DSC09458DSC09473

All of the windows are open and all of the fans are running. It is 90 degrees and I think everyone is thankful that the air is moving.

Later, the missionaries are happy to hear that we have the mail with us. Presidente enjoys handing it out to our anxiously waiting missionaries, who receive their mail about half as often as everyone else, because they work and harvest souls in the campo.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

things that come in a bag

There are some cultural differences between Argentina and the United States regarding things sold at the grocery store that come in a bag. Some items seem to be more sensibly sold by the  bag, but sometimes a  box, or whatever, seems better.
When we lived in England, I saw family size juice drinks sold by the box for the first time. I thought it was a terrific idea. Well, that quite a few years  ago and juice drinks come in large boxes and small boxes in many places in the US now.
Look at the following items and decide if you would like to purchase them in a bag or in some other kind of container. Maybe they already sell these items in bags in your neighborhood!
At the end, I am going to share a personal family tradition, which has nothing to do with the things at the grocery store, but does have something to do with a BAG.

Nestle’s Quick Powdered Drink Mix 


Three place setting of plastic cutlery


Powdered Milk


Very small bags of powdered sugar


Bread Crumbs


Liquid cleaner for toilets


Liquid Laundry detergent


Disinfecting wipes


Liquid yogurt drinks


Ricotta cheese


Ziploc Baggies (8 for about $2.00 US)


Granola bars


Ketchup, Barbeque Sauce, Mayonnaise, Mustard


Soup. I just realized that I forgot to take a picture of Tomato Sauce and the Pasta Sauces




Readymade cakes 


Baby food

Okay, so here’s the tradition:
After dinner, but before dessert everyone shares a
Blessing, an
Accomplishment, and a
We have a little rule that the blessing should be something that you hadn’t realized before, but appreciate this year or something that is a new blessing this year.
I’ll share my bag for 2011.
My blessing is that when I am lost or scared, (this usually happens with remis drivers, by the way) I remember that there are many people praying for me and that gives me peace. Thank you so much for all of your prayers!
My accomplishment is that I can understand most of what people are saying to me.
My goal is to write some parts of the mission blog in Spanish and English.
 Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

sister lewis does a guest post

For a different perspective, I am sharing what our daughter, Tricia, had to say about transfer day a few weeks ago when she was visiting.

Prior to my coming to Argentina, I asked my dad if he had any intention of me speaking at all when I was here. He acted like I was crazy for thinking that was a possibility. Imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning and my dad said, "Sooooo, you are speaking today!" Thanks for the warning.

Today was transfer day and about 2/3 of the 180 missionaries were coming into the mission offices for transfer. The mission office is connected to a building with two chapels and a large cultural hall. It was so fun watching all the missionaries arrive, all with their luggage in tow. They were so happy to be together. DSC00407

Dan and I have been writing weekly to one missionary from Panama. He joined the church not long ago because of a friend. No one in his family is a member. He was so surprised to see me, his jaw dropped to the floor. He is an accountant in a hotel in Panama City, so he is a guy after our own heart. It was hard for me not to give him a hug! But I did bring him his favorite treat…marshmallows. :)

The meeting started and I was in tears with the opening song. Their mission song is "I'll Find You My Friend" but they sing it in Spanish. Having 120 missionaries sing that song is so powerful. They also sang it as the closing song because my mom wanted to record it, so I got to cry some more.  DSC00362

My mom spoke about "Sister Lewis" and the power of hope and I cried through that, even though she spoke in Spanish. Then I spoke and cried through that. I felt badly for Elder Baudon who was translating for me. I told the missionaries that it was hard to let my parents go, but what an example the missionaries are to me and my family. Hearing their stories and miracles and feeling the spirit of their work is such a blessing in our lives. I told them a story about our son, and how they can always call on the Father, even when they feel lost or alone. I bore my testimony and then I had a hard time sitting down. I felt like I was having a conversation with each one of them and I didn't want it to end.

But then it got really fun.

They do a whole Power Point bonanza where they announce the companionship changes. It kind of felt like a cross between Let's Make a Deal and the Academy Awards. Everyone cheered when their new assignments were made. I loved that those being made Trainers, District Leaders, or Zone Leaders got a special cheer. My heart was with the Sister missionaries who are going into the campo (countryside) where only Elders have been before.

And then it was time for everyone to go! I milled around meeting missionaries. Two of the missionaries in this mission are best friends at home. Another missionary said that one of the witnesses at his baptism just 2-1/2 years ago is also in the mission with him here. What tender mercies!


We eventually made it back to the house to eat lunch/dinner (the main meal in Argentina) with the North American missionaries that were going home at night. (The South American missionaries had left earlier in the day.) We had a small testimony meeting with those five missionaries. Tears flowed freely as they reflected on their missions and the men they had become and the lives that had been changed. Such miracles.

The missionaries took time to write down their testimonies. They write them on the first day of their missions as well, and a package including those testimonies and all their weekly letters to the Presidente go home with them.

One of the missionaries was being picked up by his parents. His mom works at the Columbia Temple on Thursdays, so chances are that I will meet her again! The rest of us took a trip out for ice cream before heading off to the airport. It was so fun to listen to the missionaries tell stories about their missions today. A lot of times they were super funny. It was interesting to see them run through the gamut of emotions today. Denial that they were leaving, anguish that it was really happening, and then excitement and anticipation that the time had really come to go home.


We dropped them off at the airport and then went to the CCM. Located on the grounds of the Buenos Aires Temple, this is one of 17 missionary training centers throughout the world. We picked up two Latin Elders there. One is a visa waiter, but one has been called to Buenos Aires West. After meeting them and handing them off to the Assistants, we headed home.

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All I can say is that this was the longest day of my life. I don't mean that in a bad way. It just seemed like time stretched out forever and I couldn't believe how much we did. My mom says the days are long and the weeks are short, and I can totally see what she means. My dad asked how the day's experiences compared with what I expected and all I could really eek out with tears in my eyes is that it is so much more.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

mercedes district conference


Our mission has 8 stakes, 2 districts and 1 independent branch. Today was the Mercedes District Conference. There were over 400 people there. It was pretty exciting for the members to see one another and the growth of the church in their own area.

A primary choir sang. All of the boys in the choir had matching red ties and all of the girls had matching red headbands. Many of the members came from several hours away by buses. Hermana Azcurra and Hermana Yingling were transferred to Junin two weeks ago, even though it is an area where the elders have traditionally worked. They brought 15 investigators with them today. One of the girls in their branch asked them to teach some of her friends so that little group was among the 15. I wanted to take a picture of them, but they were camera shy. Luckily, the members weren’t, but then later two of the investigators agreed. We had ten missionaries there. It should have been twelve, but two of them are still in Mexico waiting for their visas.

During the conference, Presidente asked all of the people who had joined the church in the past 4 years to raise their hands. About a fourth of the hands went up. The dear sweet lady in the center of the collage was not one of them. She joined the church in 1941 and is a true Argentine Pioneer. Hopefully, she will see the Mercedes District become the Mercedes Stake in the not too distant future.

Friday, November 18, 2011

sharing the light

We shared some of our wonderful training from Elder Christofferson with the Zone Leaders today. Right after the seminar I received a message from one of the missionaries that said:

Estamos emocionados por saber toda luz que están recibiendo para la misión.

I am pretty sure that translates to something like, “We are excited to know all the light that you are receiving for the mission.” Isn’t that such a beautiful thought!

I wasn’t feeling well and went home at lunchtime. Presidente didn’t really have time to take pictures, as you can tell.


If you would like to read a little bit about Elder Christofferson’s trip to Argentina, you can find it on lds.org under the subsection Prophets and Apostles Speak Today or by clicking on this link:



2011 Seminar for Mission Presidents and Wives

South America South

Thursday, November 17, 2011

street life

The mission home is on a one-way street. Here in Argentina it is called “contramano” if you are going the wrong way on it, which I think is so much better than saying “you are going the wrong way on a one-way street”. When we first moved to Argentina I traveled contramano with various drivers and occasionally, still do, at which point the driver turns on the hazard lights, called permisso lights here, and carries on.

Two of the reasons that we traveled contramano so often was that we were following the GPS instructions, which don’t seem to know which streets are contramano, and the streets are not well marked. Remis drivers also travel contramano occasionally when the roads aren’t too busy and they are in a hurry, which only begins to speak to the numerous violations and road hazards that are rampant. Hence, the main reason that I don’t drive. Another reason is that our mission has a total of three cars. One for Presidente, one for the office and one for a senior missionary couple serving out in the campo.

I think that the street our house is on is pretty noisy and busy. It is going the right way from the train to Avenida del Libertador. Libertador is one of the main streets, running 16 miles through the province of Buenos Aires. It has an interesting history which you can read about on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avenida_del_Libertador)and here is a picture from that website:


Of course, if you are riding the train, you are probably a walker and it doesn’t matter if the street is contramano or not. In addition, our street also connects to another busy road, so we do have plenty of vehicular traffic.

However, compared to places in our mission, our street is very quiet. Missionaries regularly tell me about the music that plays in their neighborhoods. Often, the music comes from a group of Argentine kids. I can’t decide if there are 5 or 6 of them because some of the pictures show 5 of them and some of the pictures show 6 of them.

Their most famous song Tirate un Paso plays all day long and all night long in some areas. The title of the song means something like Throw Me A Step. The dance that goes with the music is…well…jerky. On the streets many of the youth, including children who have just learned to walk, are dancing along with all of the rest of the gang. contratar-a-los-wachiturros1-300x158


The Wachiturros come from a very poor part of Argentina.  I think that the group actually named themselves after their subculture.


To me, the music is droning and repetitive, and I sincerely doubt that the lyrics meet the For Strength of Youth standards, but it is infused with so much slang that it is really hard to tell. Even the definition of wachiturro is a little tricky to follow:

The slang “wachiturro” comes from the combination of the words “wachi” which is a derivative from the word “wacho” which comes from the work “guacho” which is a slang term used on people, typically young. And “turro” is a slang term used on people who like wearing sportswear and that typically listen to cumbia.

The missionaries follow the guidelines in the White Handbook when it comes to listening to music, but they are out on the streets all day long so it is impossible for them not to hear…

At night the cumbian dancers

They lift their arms

And the wachiturros throw steps

Throw me a what?

Throw me a step

Go forward and throw a step…

Good-hearted people that would like to escape their poor lifestyle are attracted to the Church. They come to our beautiful church buildings and meet people who are trying to improve their lives.

They learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ from our missionaries who have similar feelings to the sons of Mosiah. They are “desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they [can] not bear that any human should perish.” The missionaries rejoice as their investigators make baptismal covenants and then work toward a day when they can go to the the intersection of Autopista Richieri y Puente 13 in the Ciudad Evita section of Buenos Aires


and make temple covenants.






Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I have updated two of the tabs at the top of the blog, Info for New Missionaries and Parents Traveling to Argentina.
If you have other questions, please email me. Sooner or later, others will have the same question, and I would like our information to be as complete as possible. My email address is in the contact information.

Monday, November 14, 2011


   The refuerzos meet their new companionsDSC09343

and leave the officesDSC09366

to begin


their missionary adventures.DSC09353

Nos Vemos!DSC09355 



Tenga suerte!DSC09359

Hasta luego!