Monday, May 28, 2012

Facebook Frenzy

Hey Diddly!

How goes stuff fams? So, so good to hear from you! Happy Memorial Day! Glad to hear you guys are just chillin' it today. We are too. Its p-day but its Elder Adams’s birthday. We went to Centro this morning and had breakfast with Speakmen to celebrate. We had blue cheese Paninis and Cokes and told crazy stories. T’was awesome! We made banana bread when we got to the pench and just chilled. The ward planned a party for him a little later tonight so we're stoked for that. I bought him Starbursts (which are a rare find here) for his present. So far today has been legit.

This week was good but a little hard. This area is a difficult area. Don’t get me wrong, it has potential to be good and I love it but work-wise it is a little difficult to get hold of everyone and to find new people. But we are planning on having a smashing week this week so keep praying we’ll find people and hope for the best, this area is tight!

I’m glad that sending the pics worked out last week. I was thinking maybe they wouldn’t but I guess they worked. By the way, I got to say I very much dislike that light blue tie I’m wearing. It’s broken, for starters but I'm always wearing it when pictures come around. Idk, maybe it’s a curse.

We had nothing but parties this week: Muñoz´s birthday, President Millan´s birthday, investigators who could only meet after a birthday party at the church. We were at Muñoz´s birthday at a member’s restaurant for lunch and the Boca game was on. Idk if I told you but in Argentina you can only like two soccer teams: River or Boca. And Boca is the way to go! I’m a big fan. We watched the game and they got into the semifinals to win this game which is basically the Argentine World Cup. Everyone was jumping up and down and going crazy. The whole town was in chaos! Good fun!

Elder Langston has this book by Elder Bednar called Increase in Learning. I was reading it and it’s really cool. It also has a little movie that comes with it where he answers questions in this seminar and its big question to everyone was President Packer’s quote: "Which doctrines, if understood, would change attitudes and behaviors." It was soooo cool and really helped me to understand how to better teach the doctrines. In the MTC they gave us these books that were the fundamentals in teaching and, at first (for the first 5 months) I thought they were really pointless. But lately I see they are so cool and really work and I think would really help out the area. Sorry, that seemed nerdy I know but when you start to get in the system this stuff, after a while, is just as cool as a new Arcade Fire album. Other than that stuff, this week was really nice and fun but not a ton of stuff happened. It was more of a plain (but very nice) week. I guess now it’s onto the questions.
  • How are things with investigators?
Good good. We have a little family of 4 named Joaquin and Miciella who love to talk and talk and talk and talk. And then a lady named Fernanda and her little girl who she is very close to being baptized (we are hoping for next week). And then these 2 punky little girls. One very nice and wants to get baptized but the other one is kinda shaky on that. Other than that we need to find more peeps! We have a plan to do a massive references attack with less actives and new members this week, though.
  • Is it still raining a lot?
Nope. It rained all the time in Areoparque and I always carried an umbrella but here its just been windy but I haven’t seen any rain yet.
  • Is the teaching going well?
Yes, It’s going superb! We make these scripture chains to help investigators and those are really fun....I know it’s nerdy but here it’s cool. You understand
  • Do you have Spanish grammar books to study?
Yes, I have a few books and they help me a ton (especially this Spanish book they gave me at the MTC that’s new and its kinda long-shaped. THAT ONE IS SO TIGHT! But speaking is really just the best practice, I think. Its weird, I’m kinda going in reverse. I can speak pretty well but listening has been my struggle as of late (usually its the other way around) so do keep in your prayers that I can listen better and pay attention better and I’ll be doing my best.
  • Can you get cake mixes there or do you want us to send you one?
Yes, we have cake mixes here. They are crazy about cakes here. You’ve got every kind of cake ever available here. So I think I may be good on that but thank you so very much!
  • Someone with an Argentine name wanted you to friend them on facebook.  Do you want to?
Everyone is nuts about facebook here or as they call it "face" but they pronounce it "FAAYYEEce". Um, I’ll get back to you on that. How is my facebook doing, by the way? Any hackers? Lots of Amigos trying to be my buds? Don’t even try to use my Farmville!

Well, anyways fam, its been real. Can you believe that high school graduation was only two years ago!  F´reals. time is nothing; that was yesterday. I’m so glad everyone is doing alright and had a great week. I’m so thankful for everything you guys do. Your letters, your prayers, everything. You guys are more than amazing! Have a great last week of school. Pull off a good end-of-the-year prank and always remember that I love and miss you all so very much. I love you! It’s all good! H.A.G.S!

Con Amor,


P.S. I sent a letter to Carly and Brain, and Grandma and Grandpa Carter and Allphin maybe a little more than a month or so ago and I just sent two other letters off to Austin Sherwin and you, Mom, last week. Obviously the latter two letters need some time but any word on those other letters? I’m hoping they made it all there is what I’m worrying about. I didn’t put the sender address (my info) on the letter cause they said we didn’t need to (just saying). But any word about those would be great, thanks!

P.S.S. Also a shout out to Bro. Sandberg for the letter (I never thanked him yet for the letter things he sends us, very nice of him) and a big, big thank you to Craig for the money he puts in my account. He’s the bomb! and also, thank you very much for your guyses letters as always. Your’re all *click* real nice!

P.S.S.S. I should have said to you Grandma for your birthday last week "you’re my girl, the boys all know!" ha-ha I love you so much.
Mission office in Salta

Stormy San Salvador

San Salvador de Jujuy

Monday, May 21, 2012

Jungle Book

Wud up homes!

I’m stilll on that horrible computer with no characters on it so if anything seems super amiss, spelling wise, you know why. Well family, it’s so good to hear from all of you guys. Glad to hear everything has been top shelf.  Sorry to hear about Kev. Just tell him he’s in my prayers and he’s my number 1 hero, and that he should look up "TairyGreene:  Little dancing man" for some inspiration.

I’ll just have you know I'm having more than a blast here in good ol' Chijra. My comp is supppper dope. I’ll tell you more about all the elders in the questions but for now I’ll tell you about the week. I live in a nice little pench. Tiny but I looooove it. The area is huge and it’s kinda like the Cottonwood Canyon of Argentina. Our area goes from the edge of Centro to the mouth of a canyon. It’s awesome! We our sifting through investigators at the moment but the teaching is good. I’m still getting to know everyone but so far everyone seems to be super nice. This area is in Jujuy but a little different than my old area. For example:  Every one here is twice as pregnant as in my last area and everyone here as gotten on the breastfeeding-while-having-a-conversation-with-you train.  Seriously—pretty much everyone.

The people are really nice here. We have a branch with a super nice branch president that looks like good ol' bro Southard. We had a professional soccer player that lived here for a few days and I became really good friends with him before he moved away. He was really cool. We have a couple here who are Grandpa Mick and Grandma Ann’s twins. The grandpa had on some nice new basketball shoes and yelled at the cat to “get out”. It was déjà vu something fierce. We went to see this other family that is super nice but odd. Like, you know, Tyler Perry as “Big Mama” or Eddie Murphy as the Nutty Professor—people that dress up as big fat guys that look crazy silly and fake. Everybody in that house was like a version of that. I really wanted to ask "are you in a costume?" They were really nice, though. While we ate lunch with them (we had hot dogs with mayo) they had on Gumball from Cartoon Network (Anna and Lauren know what I’m talking about) and it was super funny.

We have a really nice area here. I gave my testimony in church this week and we did divisions to get out investigators to church. I went with this kid named Juan Marcello to be my guide and, in my suit, we hiked up this super crazy cliff trail into the jungle (we have a jungle here) where they have giant spiders that build their huge webs in between trees (lovely).  Then we hiked to the top of this hill in the countryside to go get our investigators. The intro to Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark was a little reminiscent at the time. They have ton of castor bean plants here (which are most tasty when you need a little snack). Our area here has no middle ground. Its either: You have a huge mansion or you live in a little tin-roof shack. The big houses are amazing. I haven’t seen a big house in so long. Its nuts man! That’s pretty much all the interesting, cool stuffs that happened this week. Now on to the questions:
  • How is your new place,  your new people?
Pretty much just about the greatest pench of all time. We have the best guys here. We have Elder Muñoz from Columbia and I did divisions with him on Friday and became good buds. He’s a goofy kid but really nice. We have also, Elder Langston from Richfield, Utah and Elder Mays (my buddy from the MTC’s twin). He is a super good, nice, funny guy. He is way cool. And then, best for last, we have my comp, Elder Adams. He’s a good ol boy from Kansas who loves his cars and sports. He has a 1977 MG roadster that he just loves. He is such, such, such a cool, nice guy. He lived with Jennings, Speakman, and Redd.  He, Jennings, and Speakman are good buds.  We are best buds, he and I (really, all of us in the pench are) and we get along splendidly. If you wanted to know what he is like, really, just watch George Clooney’s character from O Brother Where Art Thou. Crazy but awesome! He is such a good, chill guy. I love it here!!!!!
  • How far are you from your old area?
I’m about 30min away from my old area. Its like if my old area was in Sandy and I moved to around the Hogle zoo area. It wasn’t too hard to pack. I think now I have a good enough idea what to pack and what not to unpack.
  • So what does your place look like?
The pench is tiny: 2 rooms, one bath, kitchen, little outside area but I love it. Conditions are perfect! I'll have to take some pics of it and send them to you.
  • Have you heard from Maxi and Noiella?
Nope, I hope everything is ok with those two. I'll have to call later to see if it’s all good with them.
  • How is it going with investigators?
We are shifting through the progressing to the non-progressing. The elders before Elder Adams counted all these people as progressing but when he went through them all he realized that only like 7 are actually progressing. But this area has a lot of potential; I’m super stoked for the upcoming few weeks.
  • You look like you lost some weight.
I went to a store with Elder Rasmussen like 2 months ago and we hit up a scale and I lost about 20 pounds but now I think I've lost a lot more. I would guestimate about 35ish pounds. I’m eating healthy and I feel healthy so I do have that going for me, which is always nice!

Well family, I best wrap this up. But I’ll just have you know I am incredibly happy. I have an awesome area, pench, comp, penchmates, people, branch, food, and dogs here. I love it and I’m very happy. This is going to be an awesome transfer. I’m so stoked!

A happy birthday to Grandma Molly.  Thank you so much for your support and your way cool letters and all you have done for me, Grandma.  I hope you have a great day.  I love you so much.

Mom, I forgot to tell you on the phone and in the email but happy Mothers Day! I love you so much and I’m sorry I forgot to wish you a happy Mothers Day. I’m going to write letter post haste, though. I love you so much! I love you guys all so very much. I miss you all so much but just know that I’m all good here. I’m so happy and I’m glad to know you guys are so happy too. Have a great week. Keep on keeping on. Until next week, I love and miss you guys. It’s all good!

Con Amor,



Elder Adams I and were talking about food today and summer sausage came up in the conversation. perhaps in a package you could send some. that would be *click* real nice. Thanks (;


“Old man”by Neil Young is playing in the cyber right now....AHHHHH!!!! (; Dad you would be proud! I’m sure of it!
Gisela's Baptism
Russ and Elder Adams with Franco and his son

Noiella, Maxi, Russ, Gisela and her brother

Monday, May 14, 2012

O Brother Where Art Thou?

Family guys!

This is going to be a challenging letter because the keyboard I’m writing on literally has no keys on it (like I can’t see the letters on it at all).  So please excuse any crazy, weird errors. Family, yesterday was just about amazing! I’m so thankful I got to talk to you. Those 40 minutes felt like I was home. Really, no exaggeration on that. You all sounded so great and happy; I loved every single moment of it. I’m glad everything is going great and that the call went smoothly. I’m so grateful for that.

It was an action-packed night. Literally an hour after I talked to you we got transfer calls and yes, I did leave my beloved Aeorparque for a new area far, far away....well, it’s in the next zone. I’m still in Jujuy but this area is kinda by Centro.  It’s called "Chijra" spelled like that, no error, but it’s pronounced like “cheek-ruh”.  It’s a very nice little area and I'm with a very cool comp. His name is Elder Adams. He has been out for about 20 months. He is a cool, easygoing kid from Kansas who loves cars. He’s got a George Clooney (in O Brother Where Art Thou?) vibe to him. I think we're gonna get along swimmingly. We live in a 4-man pench in a second story apartment. It’s pretty puny but cool. I live with Elders Langston (from Richfield, Utah I think) and Munoz from Columbia. They are cool, easygoing guys as well. I bet this is gonna be a sick area! I’m very excited.

I packed up last night and left this morning. It was a surprisingly easy transition. I thought I was gonna be sad from the phone call and then leaving Aeorparque but I was happy the whole time and it was a smooth transition from one thing to the next. I only got to say goodbye to one investigator and that was Gisela. She ran and gave me a big hug and said “thank you, thank you!” I don’t think we are allowed to hug but I was like, “whatever” cause there was nothing I could do about it then so it was very nice.  I miss hugs. Me and elfer skipenz said our goodbyes, it went well. The guy chilled out a lot later into the transfer.  He was still a little "ahhhhh!!!" at times but it was survivable.

Those 2 things were pretty much the dominating things that happened this week.  I told you I got my charango—which sounds great!  Also, I was going to say goodbye to Maxi and Noelia yesterday but they weren’t there. The word is that she went to the hospital to have her baby. I hope all is well with those guys. We kinda had a rough week cause we had run out of people to teach so we are pretty much referral hunting. I went on divisions with Elder Mori this last week and that was fun. We ate lemons with salt in a nasty little concrete block house and unintentionally bible bashed with a crazy Pentecostal lady at another house. It was terrific! I had a moment when I told her straight up that the only way you’re gonna know anything is true scripture-wise is to pray about it. I asked her, "Do you know who God is?" She came back with, "Who is God?”  “That’s the question" I said then told her that God is her Father, He loves her, and He wants her to know the truth and it’s only through prayer that you can do that. Its was cool, while I was saying that everything went silent: The cars in the road, the noisy kids in the street, everything went into silent mode. The spirit was undeniably there and we all knew it, even her. She kinda went silent from there. Its was a cool moment for me that I got to do that and have that help from Heavenly Father. Other than that nothing really happened this week so I guess it’s onto questions.

Any cool teaching experiences this week?
  • Pretty much the story above is all that happened this week as far as teaching goes,  But there’s more to come!

Are your shoes holding up o.k?
  • The eccos are still, literally and figuratively, kicking butt—I love them and they are still very comfortable.
Do you do much “door touching”?
  • Now and then. I heard we were gonna touch a lot of doors here but we haven’t done a ton.  When we do, people are usually cool. Either they are nice and will want to talk now or sometime later on. Some people will try to be nice and blow us off kindly or else will get nervous and lie horribly to get out of that situation by saying something like "Oh....well...we have some...stuff...we have to....BYE!" or just something like that. It’s fun and you get to see the whole array of how people act on the spot.
Are you able to say pretty much what you want.
  • Yeah, pretty much.  Getting all the grammar right still kills me. But really, it’s the listening I struggle with but I will keep working on that. Pray pray!
Well family, I best wrap this up. “High and Dry” by Radiohead is playing in this cyber and it is making me think of good old Austin, Ethan, and Kevin—oh those boys! But I just want you to know that everything is all good. So far, I love my new area, comp, the other elders in the pench, and everything. Its gonna be a good transfer, I can feel it. I loved talking to you guys yesterday. It felt so good to talk to all of you and hear your voices. I miss you all like I can’t believe but I know its all good and that you guys are happy and well. I am too. Thank you for all your letters, prayers, temple visits, and love. You are all golden! I love you guys so much. It’s really all good!

Con mucho amor,


p.s. I did hear Molly say, "Hi Russ!" Hahaha that was just about the best!

Monday, May 7, 2012

One Phone Call Away

Russ at zone conference
Russ and Elder Scipert

Hoy, Hoy!

Greetings from the crappy cyber with the shouting, swearing, stinky 11 year-olds playing “Left For Dead” and the computer with a horrible broken keyboard. Glad to hear things are good on the home front. The lacrosse is lacrossy, the chives are chiving, and it’s almost the end of the school year. That’s what I love to hear (:  Oh, and yeah, that on Wednesday I’ll be a fourth done with my mission. F'reals, time flies, its crazy! 

I’m glad your week was splendid, so was mine; it was a nice, tranquil week. Nothing much exciting happened until the weekend. We had a pretty good work week: Taught a few folks including the sister of Ivan (the kid who just got baptized) she’s very cool! She is about ten years old and is kinda like Lauren’s twin. We’ve just started teaching her this week.  Other than that we just kinda taught our regulars: Maxi and Noelia, Laura, Manuel and his brother Victor, and Gisela. This week was very exciting 'cause this week Gisela (the girl with the funny 3 year old I talked about) wanted to be baptized! We had the interview at Maxi’s and Noelia’s house and ‘cause Elder Scipert is the district leader, the zone leaders had to do the interview. So I waited outside with Maxi and Noiela while Elder Scipert went with one of the zone leaders to go to a cita (appointment) we had. One of Maxi's and Noelia's neighbors named Lidia (who is a member) came out to talk to us. I held a 45 minute conversation with her. Half of it was about childbirth ‘cause she’s a baby doctor. But, none the less, it was a conversation!

Gisela passed the interview and we scheduled to have her baptism on Saturday. We were at the church prepping for the baptism and a weird, chunky little kid came up and tried to steal my tag. I tried to take it back and he started biting me! Not hard but still nasty! I got the tag back (without punching this kid in the gut bag, I might add). After the baptism being delayed 3 hours (I think its a law that baptisms are not supposed to start on time in Argentina) we got things under way. She was baptized.  The person that baptized her seemed kinda nervous at first but once he got in the cold, sketchy water, he got her whole long name right, baptized her, and the baptism was a success.  Oh, I may have forgotten to mention, the person that baptized her was me.  Yeah, that’s right, your boy’s first baptism! IT WAS SOOOOOO COOOOL!!!! I felt so great! The water was incredibly cold but it was a huge honor! I'm so happy for Gisela. She really needed the gospel in her life. She just was so in need of peace in her life. The gospel is what she needed. We are now teaching her little brother who seems pretty interested.  His name is Lucas. He’s got a Spencer Hulsey vibe to him—super cool kid!

Now onto the sad news:  Maxi and Noelia (who are not baptized only ‘cause their wedding papers are super complex! Yet they know just about everything about the gospel. For example: Maxi read the Book of Mormon in 2 days and read all of PMG, Gospel Principles, Our Heritage, etc. Heavens knows what would happen if he got his hands on Doctrines of Salvation by Jos. F. Smith) but they are super legit and pretty much my best friends. They didn’t show up to the baptism. Strange, ‘cause they are at every baptism, church function, bar mitzvah, etc. so we went yesterday to go talk to them. Turns out Maxi went to the hospital on Saturday ‘cause of back problems and he got a test and this test said that its a 50% chance he has a kidney infection or a 50% he has kidney cancer. He is super scared and just doesn’t know what to do.  His baby is due next month and he wants to live and help raise his little baby and be a good father, a good husband, and a good member of the church. I gave him a blessing.  It may have not have been grammatically correct but the sprit was there super strong when I gave him the blessing and that’s all that matters.  It kinda helped me realized a little more that its the spirit that counts in the conversion.  He’s going to Salta next week to get some tests done so I hope everything will be all right. I made sure to tell him that "its all good" he said it really is all good. It will be (: 

Well, that’s just about it for the week guys, its time for some questions!

  • What do you want in your birthday package?
Betos!!!!!!!......Maybe some more candy (Cadbury, non-sour gummy worms, Airheads, etc).  Maybe another long-sleeved Missionary Mall shirt and some pictures. I’ll let you know if I think of anything else.

  • What’s the biggest difference you’ve noticed between Argentina and the U.S.?

Hmmm, tough question...Here there are no copyright laws, underage drinking/ driving/ smoking/ everything laws. Everyone has a “moto” like Rod had in Hot Rod and the sky—its pretty much another world over here.
  • How are things going with you and your comp?
He’s pretty chill now. I think the stress of him being a district leader kinda made him crazy for a few weeks but now he has settled down.
  • Do you ever get to play futbol anymore?
Not much, every once in awhile. Its still fun to play but we hardly play it anymore.
  • Tell us something about teaching.
I’m liking that promise we have in D&C about knowing what to say, when you need to say it. It really works. Its like you don’t need to think about what you have to say next, it just comes to you. That and I like just teaching in general. I’m starting to be more ‘laxed and everything in the lessons, it’s awesome!
  • Are you still teaching Griselda and her son?
Nope, not as much, they just aren’t available to talk as much anymore.  They always say "come back another time" or something like that. Sad but we'll keep trying.
  • Are you ready for a transfer? love Jujuy!!!!!!!!!!!! But a change does sound exciting. Scipert is a good teacher, he knows his stuff but a new comp does sound exciting. I’m just gonna live up my last week here. Nothing but wine boxes from here on out!

Well fam, I best be going. This kid next to me has been playing the same Cumbia song for an hour and I’m going to kill him. I believe this Sunday I’ll be calling you guys around 6 p.m. here. which is like 3 p.m. for you guys so be prepped for that. They are being super Nazi about the phone calls so it can’t go over 40 mins. but oh well, I guess. I hope the phone calls all work out. I’m a little bit worried about how to call but I’ll be guided through it. I’m more than incredibly excited to talk to you guys. I love and miss you so much. I can’t wait to hear your amazing voices this Sunday! I can't believe its been 6 months. Thank you all so so much for your prayers and fasts in my behalf. I love and miss you guys more than you know. Until this Sunday! I love you, its all good!

Con Amor,