Monday, March 26, 2012

Holy Holi!

Well hey, hey!

How goes it fam? Everything sounds good and normal, awesome! That’s cool you went to the “argie” restaurant and yes, everyone here says "ciao" I have only heard like 2 "adios” the whole time I’ve been here.
Wow, that’s so cool about Jeff! When does he go in? Give him a commemorative fist bump from yours truly.  And a most “Rip-diddle-dip-dip it’s your birthday” to Ethan and Austin.  In the words of Richard Dunn from Tim and Eric, they are my "shining boys".

 It’s so good to hear from you guys, I love your letters so much. It feels close even though we’re apart. Sounds like you guys had an awesome week. Mine was pretty fun as well. Sorry about the random p.s. note to check out the “Raz Trent” video. We have a ton of Raz Trents here so you might want to know what I deal with sometimes. 

This week got really cold just like that (I just snapped my fingers right there) it’s perfect, you can wear long sleeves and everything. We did divisions this week and I was in pench with only Latins for a day and my comp for the day was just trying—he was robotic and sullen the whole time we taught. The purpose of divisions is to learn something new and I did. I thought everyone taught the same way (you know, happy and lively, like a real person) but I guess not for some elders. Me and Elder Rasmussen have a good system. Razzy is such a good guy, he really knows the right way to teach. 

Other than that it has been a super chill week. Literally and figuratively. It was really bland but chill. We went to Centro this morning and helped Maxi with his wedding papers. They are sooooo stinkin' close to being baptized so keep them in your prayers that they’ll pull through.  After that we did some shopping and met up with a couple of really cool elders there and ate breakfast in a little cafe and told funny stories and looked at Rolling Stone magazines from 2001. Speaking of music, we ate at this guy’s house yesterday and he had a guitar and he knew! It was awesome. Well , other than that, that was pretty much my week. Sorry it was a short entry but just know it was a nice, peaceful feeling week and it was great. 

Well, I guess it’s on to questions now, let’s do it!

  • Did you get another package and did the pills get there okay?
Yes I got the package with the pills! They were in tip top condition and I read I have another package here that’s 24 pesos so I'll make sure to get it. Thank you so much for the packages!
  • Do you each have a cell phone or do you share one?
We share a cell a cell phone, it’s from like 1998 but it does the job
  • Are you writing in your journal? 
Haven’t missed a day yet! (:
  • We saw there were a bunch of new missionaries arriving in Salta this week that had been delayed by Visas.  Did that change anything in your pench?
  • Nope! I saw that too (in an email) but no nothing changed in our pench. We did get a new hermana in the district but that’s about it.
Is there anything you need that we can send you?
  • Gummy worms, American treats, I don’t need anything super special at the moment but I’ll be sure to tell you when I do.
When you eat with the members is it just you and your comp or do others eat there as well?

  • Sometimes it’s just me and my comp and sometimes it’s all four of us. Mostly it’s all four of us
  • Do you know when the next transfers will be?
 Sunday April 1st...Ironically, April fools day...crap! But yes, that’s when transfers are and all of us in the pench should be all safe for now but do please please pray that me and Elder Rasmussen will have at least one more transfer together. And just in case anything happens that day and if you don’t get an email from me on next Monday (we should be ok for one more transfer but you never know) just know I’m all good but we should be good for one more transfer together but you never know
  • Tell us how things went with investigators this week.
 Good.  It was a slow kinda jumbled around week cause we had divisions and we went to El Carmen a couple times to do interviews for baptisms (which, by the way, we ate in El Carmen and they were playing the best of Steven Segal movies—jealous?) but all of our investigators are going pretty good
  • Are you getting good at ironing?
 A little bit, yes! Ha-ha

Well, I'll be ending this letter now. Can you believe its general conference this week? Crazy! It felt like just last week we were watching it. Time flies here. I’m going to go shopping now. And we all hope elder ****doesn’t mooch off of us. Seriously, that kid has the same amount of money we do and he blows his money on things like candy canes, umbrellas, peg legs, Smarties, batman masks, potato clocks, etc.  At least that’s what we think he's spending his money on.  We made a huge list of what we think he buys but he always runs out of money tries to mooch so I’m going to go hide my frosted flakes on the top shelf (he’s 5 foot 4) and do my laundry. I love you guys so much. Thanks for all your advice, prayers, and fasts. I can really feel them working this week and always. Thanks for your faith and confidence in me. I love and miss you guys so much. Until next week, I love you, it’s all good!

Con Amor,


P.S. Wow, Molly looks so big now, how crazy! Ha-ha!

Monday, March 19, 2012


Well hey, hey guys!

Sooo good to hear from you! I hope all that partying was a blasty-blast! That’s so sick about the iPad! I’m just green with jealous envy about that, papa, ha-ha.  Glad to hear you guys had a great week. Mine was an up and down week.

Last week we had lunch at the same member’s house and ate polenta with a ton of hard boiled eggs in it and I guess I didn’t eat a couple bites of eggs. Now, most people here are really cool about how little or how much food you eat. I’ve been pretty good about eating everything (just to be on the good side) but on occasion you run into true-blooded "I’m smart your dumb, I’m big, your little, I’m right, your wrong" people and this guy and his wife are those people.  I guess the wife got incredibly mad that I didn’t eat, like, two more bites of egg (literally, there were only scraps of egg and polenta left and I tried my best to eat them).  When we went to lunch with them again the husband pulled me aside and furiously demanded that I apologize to his wife for not eating the little bits of egg last week. Then he made all of us (especially me) feel awful and told us we aren’t doing our jobs. The other elders just blew it off and said “whatever” (as they should because this family is only about put downs.  Everyone in our ward says "never listen to them".  It really got me down though, ‘cause he really wasn’t nice about it. Then, right as we left the house, I got a massive cold/headache and I couldn’t think or concentrate for the whole day. It was awful, I felt so bad. That night I prayed that I wouldn’t be mad at this guy (and I was suuuper mad at the time) and that he would stop putting us elders down. Well, the next day I had a feeling it was going to be a good day and my anger towards this guy was sufficiently calmed. Even though when we saw him again, he called me a “failure” and “annoying” I wasn’t mad at him. However, I did get an impression which was: "start going to different families for lunch". Now, we eat with this guy’s family every single Wednesday (and it’s never at all pleasant) but I just had the impression to start eating at other people’s houses. I told Elder Rasmussen this and he said he liked the idea but we were scared to talk to this guy about it. As we were talking about this we were about two doors down from the bishop’s house so decided we would talk to the bishop (not about the lunch incident or anything, just to say “hey”).  When we got there he said to us, "Elders, you guys should start eating at other people’s homes for lunch so you can get to know the ward more. So tell this family you can’t eat with them every Wednesday, you can only eat with them once a month”.  I was speechless. I about wanted to kiss the bishop I was so happy! We don’t have to worry about this guy anymore! And really, I believe my prayer was answered. If you just keep your cool, pray for love, and kill them with kindness (just like you guys said) then it will all be good. That’s my crazy story for the week. I’m all good now!

We got a super good investigator this week. Her name is Mariel and she is 21 and was investigating the church online. She is gold and is ready to be baptized, pretty much. We had a super good first lesson with her and the spirit was really strong there. It was truly a much needed blessing.

Our other investigators are slowly, slowly—ever so dang slowly—getting towards baptism. They just need an extra push and they will be baptized in no time. It’s just kinda frustrating sometimes.

I gave my talk on Sunday and it went...hopefully o.k! I got good comments on it (it was about charity).  It may have sounded like a dyslexic kid wrote the talk but I felt good about it. I felt very at peace once I got through the first little bit of my talk and the closing song after wards was “Love at Home” and now, thinking about it, I think Lorraine may have had a part in that sacrament meeting somehow. Well, that’s just about all that happened this week.....question time!

  • Do you want us to update your facebook to show the picture of you and Elder R. walking through the field?

Sure that would be awesome! You guys can do whatever on the facebook (just tell dad to keep his mitts off my music section cause heavens knows he will erase everything and put only Phil Collins in their stead).

  • Do you ever print out your email?

No, not always. The printer here is horrible, to say the least.

  • Are you taking lots of pictures?

Yes, yes, yes. I’m taking pictures all the time, for sures!

  • Any baptisms this week?

No baptisms this week for us. We went to a baptism on Saturday for a little girl in our ward but that’s about it

  • Is it cooling down yet?

At night, yes but in the day I like to think it is but I don’t think it really is. It’s supposed to get cool here pretty soon, though.

  • Have you used your raincoat yet?

I’ve used my raincoat a few times but mostly the rain catches us off guard but we don’t mind getting a little wet now and then. In the words of Ricky Bobby talking about Powerade in his prayer: "It cools you off on a nice, hot summer’s day."

  • Anything cool happen with any of your investigators?

Mostly just with that new investigator. She is really looking for some peace and stability in her life and she says, with this gospel, she is starting to find it.

Well family, that’s about all from me. I’m glad to hear everything is tip-top for you guys. I love you all and miss you all so much.  Thank you for your prayers and your love and everything. I hope you all have a great week. I love you, it’s all good!

Con amor,


P.S. Could you guys pray for me to be more relaxed when I teach? I’m kind of getting nervous with talking and stuff lately so if you could do that for me it would be nice. 

Oh, and they have good enough toothpaste here so you don’t have to send any, actually. 
I love you so much!
Russ (about to be translated)

Monday, March 12, 2012

We Don't Need No Stinking Daylight-Savings Time

Ahoy-hoy familia,

How goes it? Sounds like everything is ship shape! Sorry about you guys having daylight savings time there. It’s too complicated to have here.  We are so behind in the times that Northern Argentina hasn’t reached the year 1999 yet.  We still have Star Wars Episode One cereal boxes...yum!

Well, I had a pretty good week! We are very close with 3 investigators getting baptized (Maxi and Noelle, Griselda and Esteban) so everybody keep praying they’ll be baptized soon cause we are sooooo dang close! I was at an investigator’s house and they asked me to pray in English so I proceeded to give the most awkward prayer ever because I have not prayed in English in 4 months. I totally forgot how to pray in English so it sounded as if Beavis and Butthead were giving the prayer so yes,  it was sufficiently awkward.

I ate a pizza this week that may be the worst thing I’ve ever eaten. It had this feta cheese stuff on it and was soaked in anchovy juice—tasty. I didn’t want to throw up at all! Oh, and on another “good eats” note, I had some blood sausage at a member’s house yesterday. It wasn’t horrible but it wasn’t good. It tasted like straight-up irony blood so I really can’t see why Andrew Zimmern is jumping out of his pants about how good it is.

On another note, we have a band by our house now. They played Paranoid by Black Sabbath so I stayed outside and head bobbed for awhile.  They are good for an Argentinean band so that’s saying something. In other music news: Grease (the movie) is massive here. You can’t go down a street without hearing "You're the one that I want" so you know how much I love that! Other than that, that was pretty much my week. Still walking around, teaching, and doing all that fun jazz. I have to give a talk this week in church so pray for me about that and that I’ll keep learning the language and everything. 

But other than that, let’s do some questions:

  • Did you get rid of the “ghosts”?
Yes, with some vacuum cleaners and Whoopi Goldberg as the member present… or we just said a little prayer that the house would be peaceful.  With that, we got rid of the ghosts in Rodrigo’s house (and we celebrated with tea and tortillas, party)!

  • Tell us a little about teaching an investigator.
When you teach an investigator it is really about teaching around their needs (which is cool ‘cause when you give them scriptures and things to give them strength is when they come to be converted and their hearts are really softened). That is the best way to teach.  We usually teach them the first 3 lessons and about the laws of chastity, tithing, and the word of wisdom and whatever else that would help’s really fun, sometimes tiring, but fun! I hope I answered that question right.
  • Are you sleeping o.k?
Yes,I’m sleeping superbly! Once my head hits the pillow I’m pretty much out.
  • Have you had any allergies down there?
No, no allergies yet. We had lunch at a house were I had about 1/4 of a watermelon and I felt a little bit of my fruit allergy kicking in but then I was fine. I’m not having allergic problems with fruits, or the climate, or anything so I got that going for me—which is nice!

  • Are folks generally nice to you down there (when you’re out clapping doors and such)?
Yeah, mostly. If they say “no” they will say: "Sorry, sorry, I’m busy, sorry" but we’ve never gotten like, really yelled at yet at a door. It’s funny, on the doors people will have stickers that say, "I am catholic" but usually those are the best doors to knock on ha-ha.  But other than that, most everyone is super humble that they would want to hear the message.
  • Can you pretty much get what you want in the stores?
Yeah pretty much all the basics like sugar, flour, milk (which never expires) and cereal, treats, and stuff. But yeah, you can get anything.
  • What do you like best about your comp?
The fact we are the same person. We have the same tastes in music, humor, and really, everything—he is such a cool guy and is way, way, way, nice and awesome.
  • Do you study Spanish every day?
Yes, yes I do but still please pray for me to keep learning the language, the doctrine, teaching, and everything else!
  • Have you ever had to speak in Sacrament Meeting?
Funny you should mention that but yes, this Sunday I’m giving a talk (pray for meeeee)! 
  • What's your ward like?
This ward is like is pretty much like our ward only the hallways are twice as clogged with people.

  •  Do you have a particular kind of candy you would like us to send?
I would looooove some gummy worms from Winco! Just a bunch of them would be splendid! And some more Cadbury eggs too but mostly just a lot of gummy treats would be awesome.

Well family, that is about all the time I have today! Its soooo good to hear from you. Thank you so much for all your prayers and everything.  A Happiest birthday to Papa, Wes, Anna, Chris, Carl, and Van.  I love you guys so much!  Keep praying for me, everything is good here! Until next week, I miss you and love you so much! It’s all good!

Con Amor,


Monday, March 5, 2012

Criminently, Family!

How’s it going? Wow, 4 months can you believe it! That is so crazzzy cool! Glad to hear all is well and the wheelers are still dealing—that makes me nuttin’ but chuffed!
Speaking of great TV shows, we were at a member’s house for lunch and guess what was on TV? Yeah that’s right, the Spanish version of dad’s favorite show of all time, "Married with Children".   How they got the priceless copyright to that show and dubbed it into a Spanish is beyond me but I guess there is no escaping it....dang it! Also, at the same lunch, one of the member’s kids had an electric guitar and I got to play it. I got to play a Vampire Weekend song and Local Native’s songs on this guitar—it was nothing but amazing. I wanted to shout "I’ve got blisters on me fingers!!!" because it was so awesome to play the electric guitar again (and I really did have blisters on my fingers). Big news down here in TV as well:  All week they are airing "Gone with the Wind".  Everyone was fairly excited but frankly my dear, I don't give a damn <---that’s a pun, not real swearing.

It was a good week this week:  The houses here still smell like Pirates of the Caribbean in Disneyland (oh, how I miss Disneyland) and church is still same ol' same ol' (for sacrament we have hot dog buns or sometimes these things called "tortillas" which are essentially sea biscuits (not the horse) but are good at the same time and its about 4 ($1.00) pesos for a big bag of them. And everyone’s table cloths are still Christmas themed.

Wednesday was the best day ever! I got your guys' package and everyone else in the pench got their packages, and we got paid (so we can finally eat again) and I got a ton of letters from you guys including one from Ethan, that drunguss! I miss that kid a whole bunch.  It was a good day! I also got bit by a shaggy dog this week.  He didn’t break the skin or anything, and he wasn’t diseased or anything, but I’m afraid I’m going to turn into the "Shaggy Dog" or, even worse, Tim Allen! We also baptized a kid from an inactive family this week.  His name is Luis and he is a very tiny, tiny, tiny 10 year-old who we’ve been teaching for the last few weeks and his dad got to baptize him. It was very nice and lovely and the spirit was very strong there and we got to confirm him on Sunday—it was so nice! Luis has the craziest family and house! they have a bunch of kids and they are always trying to stab each other with toothpicks and they are always running around and yelling so, hopefully, being reactivated will give the family some peace.  Also, when we were at their house, they had this metal stick on the table so we were bending it and playing with it and later found out it was made of lead. So if I die of lead poisoning, don’t be too shocked, I gave you all fair warning.  Oh, when we were cleaning the font for his baptism, there was a HUGE spider in the font and I just about passed out. It was a wolf spider on steroids!  Other than that, nothing that exciting went on this week.
I’m getting so much better in Spanish. I’m starting to take over teaching lessons and talking a lot more. Yesterday in church I was talking really well and thought during priesthood meeting:  "my family is probably fasting for me to learn the language, huh?"  As I thought of that I got this other thought in my head that said, "of course they are!" I was so touched by that I about teared up right there. I’m so thankful for you guys’ prayers and everyone’s prayers for me. I can really feel them and I know prayer is a real, powerful thing. Well, if there is nothing else, I guess its question time!

  •  Did I get my package?
Yes! I did get the package and it cost me 10 pesos  or $2.30 (whew!) It was awesome—good snacks! I love the book (Pete the Cat) too, ha-ha!
  •  Do you like mate?
Sad news fam, we are actually not allowed to drink mate here. I know, right! It’s crazy but I am going to buy a sweet mate cup next week just for kicks!
  • Is the mp3 player working out?
Yes! The mp3 works splendid and Elder Rasmussen and I got some nice chill music from Elder Jennings this week and I got to put it on the mp3, its nice!
  • Did your baptisms go through?
We did get a baptism this week! But the baptism we really wanted, with Griselda, did not go through this week. She was busy moving her son into her house. We are teaching her son as well but he is a tough nut to crack ‘cause he is just all a-fussed about Joseph Smith being a Mason. We may need Nicholas Cage to come explain things in our next lesson.
  • Tell us about your bishop.
Obispo Sardinas is a way cool cat and kinda reminds me of Damon Hulsey. He is about 40 or so years old, I’d reckon
  • Have you seen Pres. Levrino since you’ve been in San Salvador?
I saw him at zone conference the first week I came here and he gave us a ride around Salta when we had to get our papers done.  I also saw him on Wednesday because he was doing interviews during district meeting and he brought down the packages to us. He is such a good guy!
  • Tell us about a couple of your investigators.
There are these two investigators named, Maxi and Noella . They are a couple expecting a child in a few months and they are soooo cool and humble. They have a home that has no light, no power, no anything but they are so humble and they are so thankful for finding the gospel. They have been waiting for awhile to get married and today they are starting the week-long process of getting married (its super hard to get married here) but they are hopefully getting baptized in a week or 2 after that and I get to baptize them so I’m excited for that. They are such a good couple and they are golden! Maxi like pretty much memorized the Book of Mormon ha-ha.
  • Have you been able to eat pizza again?
I ate some pizza after watching the Joseph Smith movie at a member’s house and I was sketched out eating it but turns out, there was no incident this time! Phew! Another close call!
  • Tell us about some of the members.
We have some cool members in our area. Like this one guy, Hermano ******* (I wrote to you guys about him in a letter).  He is this old guy who looks like he should be in the mafia but he is an amazing member, he is so nice and soooo cool. He met Pres. Hinckley, Elder Perry, and Elder Maxwell a few years ago and his sons are on missions right now. He is blind but is the High Priest Group Leader in the ward, he is just about the coolest guy, hands down, here

Well family, I’ve got to go with Elder Rasmussen right now to go bless the house of one of our investigators that has "ghosts" in it (I’m presuming its only Patrick Swayze) so I’ll tell you guys next week how that went. But thank you for all your letters and for all your prayers, fasts, and temple trips. It means sooo much to me. I can feel them working. I love you all and miss you all so much and I hope you have a great week, until next Monday, it’s all good!
Con amor,


"The field is white...or green."

Luis and Family

The "most interesting man in the world".
 p.s.   A happiest birthday to Grandpa Mick, I love you so much!