Monday, June 25, 2012

Transfers, Contras, and DJs

Ahoy! How goes the good fight? Spencer Eaves got married!?!?! I was supposed to be his flower girl! C´mon!!!   I’m sorry to hear about the flooding. Lucky for you there was probably a year’s supply of food left by your kids inside the carpet—there’s always a silver lining, right? Wow, sounds like it’s a busy week this week. Don´t worry, just take a deep breath, look at everything and say "whatever dude" and just go for it. Everything seems to work in that manner. It’s gonna be an awesome, successful week for you guys (Mom) I know it!
I’m hoping it'll be a good week for me as well and by the way as I’m writing you now you can probably tell the news of transfers, I’m safe! I’m here with Adams and still kickin'. Muñoz left and Langston is getting a kid. Should be party! I’m hoping to work insanely hard this transfer. The last transfer has been hard for me because I don’t think enough got done but this transfer I’m going to keep the motto "things are gonna start happening to me now!" I just felt so bad about last transfer that I want to kick into full gear this next transfer. So if you have any good tips on how to motivate people into working hard, please, do tell.
We have had a lot of success this past week by trying a crazy, upfront but successful approach.  We just go to the door and literally say, "Hello, were talking about God with the people here. Can we come in?" We get in every time! It’s really cool. So we’re banking for a lot of success with this, we hope.
I went to Centro today to drop off Muñoz and I withdrew some money and I saw Zulauf!  Other than that, nothing much has been happening. The yoga is pretty fun so far. My back is starting to feel a little bit better each time. Still haven’t gotten to the point where I can sit on my head but we´ll save that for much later.
There was a wedding last Saturday and the DJ (who’s in the branch.....we have like 13 DJ´s in our branch) just kinda ditched out so I got to take the DJ reigns and try it out. T´was fun stuff! I got to try and listen to see if any of the Spanish songs had swear words in them. They probably all did, I would reckon but it was eventful and fun none the less.
We have this drunken, old Nicaraguan Contra vet who always wants to talk to us incoherently but very animatedly. Yesterday he stopped us and wanted to talk but we said we had a cita (appointment) up the street and couldn’t talk right now. He said he was going up the street too and said he would accompany us. Thing was, we had no cita up the street and, what’s more, had no idea what to do. He was about 5 feet behind us talking to himself.  We finally lost him by finding some old investigator’s house and darting into it to get away from drunky and it worked!  We also had a lesson with the old investigators—2 birds with one stone right there!
Well fams, that’s about it for this week. Now for quezzzztions!
  • Who was the Elder you were having “the moment” with in last week’s picture?
That would be good old Elder Langston at the father’s day party. He is about the coolest kid on the planet earth. He has a little over a year in. He’s a good scout. Don’t worry, we have these moments all the time.
  • How are you getting on with the language?
Better. I’m like at the 95% I can understand anything and 80% I can say anything. I’m gonna be stepping up my language practice a lot this transfer. Perhaps I'll get so good that when I get home I’ll restore a camaro with an Argentine girl and then practice skiing with her for the K12 to beat Stalin! I know I can!  (You'll have to watch Better Off Dead).
  • Are you reading your scriptures in Spanish?
Yes, I am. Not as often as I should but yes. Is this a good way to learn more because I heard it is. If you have any advice on that, please, do tell.
  • Is the ward mission plan getting in gear?
More or less. Our ward mission leader is a 23 year-old that acts like he is in an eternal state of waking up from a bad nap. Hopefully he´s gonna get trained soon from president but we’ll have to see because I want to get this plan rolling!
  • Have you had to wear your winter coat yet?
Yeah, I broke it out once cause we had a really cold week but now we are on a chill, good, normal temperature that I’m loving. Every other Argentine is busting out the llama socks and balaclavas but I’m feeling fine for the moment.
  • How are the referrals and contacts going?
Good, good.  The references are coming in slow but it’s been good so far with door contacts by the way we´ve been doing it.
  • What’s church like at your branch?
We have priesthood first where we usually have to teach the class. Nobody’s there for that but when Sunday school comes around it seems every single person in Chijra is there and they have it in the smallest room possible. Like, I think it would be more productive to hold the class in the janitor’s closet. After that we have a relatively normal sacrament meeting with offbeat monotone hymns and all that jazz. I really love Sundays here. It’s so crazy sometimes it’s just funny.
Well family guys, you have yourself a terrific girl’s camp/dog sitting/flood repairing week. Just let the boat do all the work. You can do it! Its gonna be sick! I’m gonna plan to have a good, great, successful week as well (liver free!). Thanks for always writing me guys! You are f'reals the best. Have a smashing week! I love you so much. It’s all good!
Con amor,
P.S.S. Happy birthday tomorrow Mom! Sorry about the hectic week this week but you can do it! You’re so right. Like my personal friend Tom Monson once said: "Prayer is the passport to peace". I’ll be praying for you this week to have great girl’s camp experience and to guess the right answer to the mystery meat they’ll be serving (some kind of beef). Thanks for always praying for me. I can feel it all the time. Thanks so much for everything you do Mom. I love and miss you so much and I hope you have a most smashing birthday, it will be!
Your most favorite son,

Monday, June 18, 2012

Now Them's Some Good Brains!

Family guys!

How is it goin? ¿todo bien? I presume so. Glad to hear its been another smashing week and another fantastic Father’s day. I would have to say my favorite Father’s day memory was when Grandpa and Dad all got presents and Lorraine didn’t so we had to cook up some last minute presents.  Now, that’s a Father’s day. I hope it was all good and hammock-y and barbeque-y.

I had myself a good week. Normal but good. It was a bit of a slow week: Trying to find references and all; contacting and such. On Friday I did divisions with this kid in my district named Elder Shuman from Murray (he was in David Archie’s math class). He’s a good scout. It was like being comps with Brian. It was so much fun and we worked super hard that day because he has a burnt-out comp as well so we did a ton of contacts and references that day to just try to find some peeps to teach. We worked so hard and it felt great. We like, doubled our weekly numbers that day, t'was awesome!

While Shuman and I were waiting at a house for an investigator we have named “Hermana Ocina" (I say that cause I have no clue what her first name is because she mumbles like nobody’s business).  As we were waiting for her to come to the door we started watching these chickens with their baby chicks. Chickens are always very entertaining here. You don’t find them very often but when you do they are always huddled in a gang wandering the neighborhood streets. As we were watching them, a dog came out of nowhere and started attacking the baby chickens. He had one he was right about to finish off so I picked up a good-sized rock and nailed this dog in the hip with a good sounding thump. After belting out a Scooby Doo yelp, the dog released the chicken and ran away. The little chick shook itself off and ran back to his mom. Another chicken saved! Good stuff! Other than the chicken run, not much else happened that day.

We have been walking to Alta la Viña a lot lately. My comp never likes to take the bus up there even though its about a 4-5 mile walk.......ugggggh! We are hoping to have a lot of success up there; it still has a lot of potential.

We do exercises every morning for about 1/2 hour and I thought about something while doing exercises.....what about yoga? So I asked this one hermana in the branch that teaches dance if she’s got any stuff for yoga and, yes, she does. She’s supposed to hook me up with some yoga stuff today and I’m going to try it out. You just watch, I’ll come home and I’ll have learned to touch my eye with my toe, it’s so happening!

It was drunk week here this week (it's a year round thing) but we have had more drunkys than usual. We had Willie Nelson’s replica with a 0.10 alcohol level come up to us repeatedly this week wondering "where the hell are my horses?!?!" Not threatening or anything but he would say it very slurred. I hope somebody finds his horses—soon.

I had a really good Sunday yesterday. The spirit really just got to me there at sacrament meeting and I was just so at awe of how good it felt.  It really got me to thinking how grateful I am for the gospel in my life. It was a good boost to get me to work even harder this week, yay team! Other than that kiddies, that’s about all we had this week. I reckon its time for some questions...
  • Have you had anything wierd to eat lately?  Have you had to fight any polenta?
Funny you should ask that. We went to this member’s house this week for lunch and I saw they had Milanesa for us. Now, here’s the trick with Milanesa: Once it has the breading on it, you can’t tell what it is. As I started to eat it I noticed it tasted kind of funky, like the texture of roast beef but the flavor of a really bad rare steak. I didn’t think anything of it until my comp asked what kind of meat it was. The response: “liver”. My comp said he just couldn’t do it and turned it down. Now I’m not saying I like liver but I did have 2 plates of it. I don’t think I like liver but I don’t hate it either. Also, on Saturday the branch had a Father’s day party at the church at which we all ate this dish called locro. Its like tortilla soup but lighter on the spicy side.  For the meat in the soup (since it was a special occasion because I don’t think its normally like this) they had organs. I saw the hermanas preparing it and I saw the big bowl of organs to put in the soup and I believe I saw a brain in there. Needless to say I had a good-sized bowl of it. I bet Campbell’s could make bank on this soup! Also, polenta is impossible to finish. I really believe it is the most filling food on earth. And yes, I’m staying well. We had Chick-Fil-A style sandwiches for lunch today that were most tasty.
  • How long has your comp been in the area?
He has been here for a transfer. He was with this elder for 3 weeks from Columbia that, from what I heard, sounded like he was the tiny spitting image of Liberace (I can only presume that he must have been adorable) and then he was 3 weeks with a mini missionary from the other ward.
  • Do you think anything will happen next week at transfers?
I’m not stressing about it all that much. I presume we will have another transfer together. He dies in September so it’s a good possibility I might kill him but, then again, we have had some random transfers in the past so yes, if you don’t hear from me next Monday you’ll know that’s what’s up.
  • How’s your bed in this pench?
Sucks, sorry to say but it does. If there is one thing I hate about here, it is the beds; the beds are horrible here. I have to do stretches everyday or else my back will hurt. I’m hoping some light yoga will help that. But fret not, I'm cool with it.

Oh, family family. T'is that time I’m afraid. I best be heading out. So I'll leave with a big digital hug and some pictures from the Father’s day activity we had at the church. I love you guys so much and I’m so thankful for you guys. I can always feel your prayers and your love. Thank you so very much. Have a fantasmic week. And remember, I love you all and, as always, it’s all good!

Con Amor


P.S. A most happy birthday this week Dad. Sounds more than groovy. Thanks for always being so awesome. Have a most excellent birthday filled with Wheeler Dealers, tiki torches, tequila shots, and all the good stuffs. I love you!
These brains are so tasty!

Russ having a moment

Feliz Dia Papa!

Russ and his lucky palm tree.
The laying on of hands.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Boiling Good Baptism

How goes it?

Glad to hear all is swell and kickin'!  I trust everything is in good shape. A big thank you to Stephen and Chris for the money. I love them so much and let them know that I will spend it solely on pirated Argentinean movies and mate. Also, I will keep Traci and her fam in my prayers.

I don’t have a ton of time to write today (which stinks ‘cause I have a lot to say) but oh well. First off, I got 2 packages today. The zonies got them in Salta and they were the ones with the photos of my friends and treats, and the package of cocoa, and everything. Thank you sooooo much! I was so happy. We were skipped on the bolsa this week ‘cause the zonies were gone the times they were to get them so I got a bunch of letters from you when it finally came. Its always so very good to hear from all of you. I’m so grateful for you guys. Thank, thank, thank you so much!!! Anyway, onto the week.

T'was a good week. We started out by having an interesting experience at a less-active’s house. As I was sitting in their kitchen I heard this noise and turned my head.  There was a bathroom to the direct right of me with someone using the bathroom. The only thing wrong with this picture is that this bathroom doesn’t have a door so I just waved back to the guy in the bathroom and tried to direct all of my attention to anything at all interesting in the room so I wouldn’t have to see Mr. dookie.  Gotta love it, right?

It was a pretty normal week. Stinkin' cold!! Its supposed to be heating up soon but lately its been freezing! Luckily we have 2 nice heaters and they are amazing and I'm always toasty but those cocoa packets will for sure come in handy! We went to our branch president’s house for lunch this Friday and, low and behold, guess what we got to watch? Those, ever so timeless, Living Scripture cartoons. It was funny to watch them again after all these years ‘cause I totally remember them! We watched the “Tree of Life” one. Its funny, whenever I read the scriptures about Nephi and his family, Alma the younger, or the first vision, I can only picture the Living Scriptures cartoons. It was a good blast from the past.

I met a recent convert named Fernanda (we call her Fernanda 22 ‘cause we have 2 Fernandas that we work with: One that’s 22 and one that’s 27) and she is so funny. She showed me the music she likes and its stuff like Vampire weekend. She’s way cool. She reminds me a lot of my good, dear friend Holly Green. Way cool!

Argentina played Brazil in New Jersey this week.  During the game, as we walked through the different neighborhoods, you could hear people screaming when we got a goal. It was awesome. We won, by the way, 4-3! Messi is a saint!

This Sunday was good. During priesthood this guy sat by me who smelled like he’d kept his mouth unbrushed and closed for 35 years. Then he decided to breathe right in my face. Needless to say, I have no eyebrows left. Seriously, this guy was the bane of all hygienic existence. He just wanted to talk to me the entire time and, to top it off, he was very weird. He kept poking me with a toothpick, touching my scriptures, and kept bumping me while I was writing my talk. After that I just got up and went to another seat. It was good fun.

Oh, and I did give a talk in sacrament meeting this Sunday. It was on charity like my last talk (‘cause we were called to give talks that Saturday night) but it was revamped. It went over really well. I wasn’t nervous or anything. T’was a good show!

Oh, and I guess I should say that yes, this week WE HAD A BAPTISIM!! Fernanda (Fernanda 27) got baptized this week. We had to fill up the baptismal font with buckets of boiling water that we continually had to boil and pour in the font. It was fun! Elder Adams got to baptize her. It went really well. The spirit was strong and it was a baptism for the ages! I sent you some pics of it (the last one is my favorite). Fernanda is a good, nice girl with a strong testimony and is way cool. At her confirmation on Sunday she cried during it ‘cause she was so happy. It was a very nice moment. Other than that stuff folks, that’s about all that happened this week. A good week for sure! Now, onto the questions:

  • Do you eat with members still?
Yeah we eat with them all the time. The members are super cool here. We have a lot of Milanesa, empanadas, and guiso which is kind of like a spaghetti-o stew. Good stuff!
  • Did you make your banana bread from a mix or from scratch?
We made banana bread from that recipe book you gave me. It turned out really good! We cook a lot (a lot more than I used to in Aeroparque) but, then again, I do love my Trix cereal!
  • Who’s in your district?
We have the zonies in our district, Elder Pringle from Arizona and Elder Grislac from Buenos Aires. We also have Elder Stephenson from California and Elder Shoeman from...well idk where he’s from but they are all good folks.  Elder Stevenson is a way tight kid. Our district is having some drama with the zonies right now so hopefully, in district meeting, we can resolve whatever is going on but, other than that, we have a pretty cool district.
  • Have you heard anything about Maxi and Noelle?
No, not yet. I’m thinking of writing them. I got to thinking abut them this week and I felt I should write them. They are good folks. F'reals, I was very close to them, especially Maxi, that guy is like my brother. I know they’re going to be baptized and go to the temple and be good members for the rest of forever but I hope everything’s all good with them so I’m gonna try to write them soon.
  • Anything we can do for you on this end?
Pray that we will find more people to teach. We are seriously out of newbies and are pulling out the “big gun” reference hunting to find people. I want to put together a ward mission plan so hopefully that will kick off soon. Pray that I can work super hard and be good and diligent. I want to work really hard so I can find and teach people. Please pray for me that I will work super hard and do my best with everything. Thank you so much.

"Lullaby" by The Cure is playing in the cyber now and I think that’s big Bob Smith’s way of saying "its time to get going". Just know how much I love and appreciate you guys. Its been a year on the 15th that I received my call. Can you guys believe that? I remember opening my call by the island in grandma’s kitchen in my pajamas (after rushing over to the post office to pick it up). Remember that ha-ha? I remember opening it and reading "Salta, Argentina" and I just remember feeling so good and so right about that call. It felt so familiar to me, like I already knew it, kinda. I’m so glad to be here. What a journey its been so far. I love it here. Whatever comes I know it’ll all be good. I’m so thankful for you guys and hope that all is well. I know it is. Remember that I love and miss you and that it’s all good!
Con Amor,


P.S. A happiest Father’s day on the 17th, Dad! Thanks for the good advice! I’ll put it into play.  And thanks for the terrific Morrissey cat toupee picture in the package. Moz would be proud. I’ll see what I can do about hooking you up with some nice Argentinean garb. Which are basically shell suits, nice huh? Also, I've noticed some of my comps have had something from their dads missions like plaques, ties, dirty undies, etc. Do you think you could hook me up with something in a future package from your mish like that? Anything but kimchi!  If you have any questions just ask me. Thank you. I love you!

P.S.S. 7 months. I got that going for me....which is nice!

Russ and Fernanda 27

Elder Adams, Fernanda, and Russell

Apparently, baptism rocks!

Monday, June 4, 2012

All The Fútbol News That's Fit To Print

Hey, hey, hey,

How’s it all going? Again, it is so insanely good to hear from you guys! I love to hear of all the adventures from the home front. Glad to hear all is well! Things are going pretty good here as well. It was a relatively normal week.

We started out this week by getting a reference from the ZL´s for a little house in this place called Alta la Viña. It’s a good 4 miles from our usual working spot but we decided to try it out. We got to where this house was and after we taught that house we decided to talk to the neighborhood. This whole neighborhood has never seen missionaries before! They didn’t even know who the Mormons are! We pretty much found El Dorado. Their little neighborhood is tucked behind a catholic seminary so nobody really knew it was there. Later this week we're going to work with that place more, good find!

We had this investigator named Nicole we were working with. She was a little weird but teachable. She was 16 and she had a cute little kid and she seemed interested in the church. We taught her on Saturday and went back on Monday to teach her and her grandma answered the door to tell us she disappeared. Thinking it was a lie to get us away (because people here lie like that sometimes). We tried again the next day and her mom came to the door and she told us that she went to a party Saturday night and never came home. The police had an investigation and everything. She was legitly gone. Later we found out from her family that she ran away from the party to go party for a week, to get drunk and do drugs and ditch her kid to go party....That’s where our sympathy for her kinda went down the drain. She is in rehab in Buenos Aires because her parents put her there but it doesn’t look like we’ll be teaching her anymore, alas.

Idk if I told you but Zulauf is in my zone. I think this is his last transfer in Jujuy but it’s still good to see him. I talked to him a couple weeks ago when the whole zone got together for interviews. It was so dope to talk to him, he’s still good old Zulauf.  That kid is my hero.

We are expecting a baptism for Fernanda, our investigator, this weekend. She is super stoked to be baptized.  She even taught the gospel principles class this week on Sunday and did great. I’m pretty stoked for her! Also in the news is that the Buenos Aires templo is going to be rededicated in September. We are gonna watch it over video at the stake center when it happens (like we did when we saw the Winter Quarters, Nauvoo, Draper, etc. dedications) so that should be cool. Word is that we are super close to splitting the stake in Jujuy. Once we do that then our mission qualifies for a temple. YAHHHHH! How dope, right? We just need a little more priesthood holders and tithe payers but hopefully we are getting close!

Word on the street is that Boca is going to play River soon for the Copa Argentina. Now I'm not sure if this is true but if it is then it’s going to be a crazy game. That’s basically the game of a lifetime down here. I also heard that Boca plays Real Salt Lake every year so when I get back we def gotta hit that up. Also, I heard Argentina is qualified for the world cup in 2014 in Brazil. 2 most excellent soccer announcements, eh?

Other than that, it’s been a pretty plain week. I guess its time for questions while I listen to the guy next to me listen to a Cumbia version of “Everything I do I do it for you´´ by Bryan Adams.........and yes, it’s about as terrible as it sounds.
  • Do you do a lot more walking in your new area?
YES!!! We do a ton of more walking; about 10 miles a day. We have 3 neighborhoods in our area: Campo Verde, Bajo la Viña, and Alta la Viña. We work mostly in Campo Verde cause its bigger, closer to our pench, and is the most successful area. Bajo la Viña and Alta la Viña are good but really hard areas cause they are very far away and they are very rich over there so it’s pretty tough to teach there.
  • How’s your chapel?
Really nice. It’s a branch but we have a good-sized meeting house. We have a big, U.S. style chapel with a basketball court that is only used for soccer and yeah, it’s just a nice house. I'll have to take some pics to send to you guys next time.
  • Do you go to the jungle often?
Every now and then. It’s a steep and humid climb into the jungle so on a hot day it’s horrible to go through but when it’s nice and cold it’s a good hike and it’s easier to get to houses to go straight through the jungle.
  • What’s your comp’s name?
Raymond Joseph Adams.  His initials are RJA and his middle name is Joseph...sound familiar? He goes by Joe back home. He is currently very stoked cause Boca is heading for the Copa Argentina.....and he says “hi”!
  • Do you want anymore gum?
I do like gum but the humidity kills it down here so you have to chew it fast. But I do like gum, preferably the fruit flavored gum cause its super good, thanks!

Well family, I best be heading out. We have a noche de hogar planned out for tonight in just a bit so I’ll just finish up quick. I just want you guys to know how much I love you and how I can feel your prayers all the time. My listening got sufficiently better this week. Thanks for your prayers on that. Keep praying I’ll keep working hard and find opportunities to lift people up. I’m having a blast! Keep on keeping on. I love you guys so much and miss you all so much and I hope you have a smashing week this week. I love you. It’s all good!

Con Amor,