Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Feast

Hey fams,

Sorry I have to cut it short today. We had a fun filled fantastic day; we met up with some elders (one of which was Elder Clawson, my DL) who got me my birthday package....from months ago. I don’t know what was up with the delay but I got it and I’m eternally grateful, thank you thank you.

We went to this place called "Quebradas" in San Lorenzo that is like a jungle walk. It was so cool and pretty. I’ll send photos. That has only, alas, left me so much time for cyber. I'll promise we´ll get more time next week. But” hellos hellos”.
Glad to hear from you all and to hear all is smashing . Our week was good; a little rainy (every day) but good. On the news of converts, Santiago (the guy we baptized) got the Melchizedek priesthood and is doing wonderfully. We are also coming along great with our other guys: The familia Ruiz, Eduardo, and this 12 year old girl named Martina who just came out of the woodworks and said she wanted to be baptized....we´ll alright! Sweet little girl. So we are working well with the investigadores. Camilia, our other investigador who lives in San Lorenzo said she wanted to get baptized on the 15th. We are hoping to see a lot of stuff happening—NOW! Or in the next few weeks.
We did have a Thanksgiving. It was during weekly planning. We had a pizza, coke, corn on the cob, and a cake of a marshmallow texture, it was tasty! I have a photo of it. It was most successful. I’m also sending a photo of an authentic argentine asado we had and ate a sandwich thing called "choripan" which is super, super good.

Elder Viñas of the 70 is coming this week so everyone is gulping and straightening their backs. It should be good. Hopefully he won’t deliver too gnarly of a Cain dropping. We also got an email from the offices that says we might be doing Christmas phone call home on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas day (cause p day falls on Christmas Eve so I guess it somewhat makes kinda not really sense) but I’ll hook you guys up with more deets in the next little while. Other than that, nuttin' much, same ol’ same ol’.....questions?
  • Are the members helping out with finding investigators?
The members are kinda shy on the work but we are working with them as much as we can to try to find people.
  • Is there anyone you would like us to pray for?
The Familia Ruiz (especially their son named Mauro) and Martina and Camilia. So that everyone can get baptized. They're such good folk. And just everyone one in general. That would be swell! Thanks.
  • How is your oven? Cooked anything good?
The oven part of the oven is acting up so we are gonna have someone look at it real soon. I WANNNA MAKE COOKIES!!!!
  • Did you do anything for a fake Thanksgiving?
Just that little dinner. We also watched some good ol’ fashioned church movies which was just a blasty blast
  • When you buy a Coke from a vendor are they cold or do they serve them at room temperature and think American’s are weird for drinking them cold?
Cold! The argies are crazy 'bout their fridges because they loooove their drinks cold—thank the heavens. They always have legit vendor fridges in the stores and even sometimes in their houses.

Well fams, I best be headin'. It is more than 1000 degrees in this cyber and we’ve got a family night. Have a great day, week, and all that and such. I hope you’re all good. I know I am. Thanks so much for your support, prayers, letters, and love. Until next week, peace-peace I love you, it’s all good.

Con Amor,
p.s. give Grandma Molly a hug from me for all her letters and such and for her support and love.

p.s.s. love you guys (:


Thanksgiving Feast


The Last Vision

Monday, November 19, 2012

Rodent Empanadas--Yum!

Golly Gee family!

How be it? Wonderful, I can only presume. Glad to hear that everything is going grand and that I’ve been so far away from the kicks of media for so long that pictures of cats in sweaters for a cat fashion show are just about the funniest things of all time. I mean it—always was but even more now than a year ago. Oh Sparta cats. It’s really weird how that happens, appreciating weird stuff like that. For example: My appreciation of hearing Katy Perry, the Chili Peppers, and that "I Love You Like a Love Song" song are like "Wow!!! Are you hearing this? English, man!" Just put that on the list of things I’m grateful for this Thanksgiving.

Well, we never have to worry about food here in Salta—members, investigators, drunks—give us food all the time. Why, just the other day we were at a house of a family that eats very....exotically. Like they’ve eaten lion, llama, monkey, etc (where the heck do you find a lion in Argentina is what I want to know) and they made these empanadas saying "Here Elders. Have some empanadas of viscacha!”  Turns out viscacha is in the classification of the rodent family. It looks like a fat bunny but alas, essentially we ate ratpanadas. But really, it was tasty. I know it sounds cliché but it actually "tasted like chicken".

We were walking around town the other when I heard something in the distance. We rushed toward the sound of a garage band playing “Crazy Train” by Ozzy. We rushed over there and asked if we can chat with them and then jam—we did. We played the always handy "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and I played the drums. We all did solos at the end and, man oh man, was it just about the funnest thing on earth to play drums again. Later that night we went to see a very cool guy named Patricio and he showed us around his amazing house. He had a library full of the best:  Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Hemmingway, Seuss... He is really great, like a mix of Cousin Sean and Uncle Carl in the scene of music. Patricio loves Bob Dylan, Neil Young, George Harrison, John Prine, etc. We had a great lesson with him and he has a lot of potential. At the end we talked music and he had a guitar so we jammed playing Dylan songs, Prine, Young, pretty much all the bands listed above. Great guy. Super cool.

We had stake conference this weekend. Our ward rented a bus to get the whole ward to go. I got to be on the bus with the bus driver from San Lorenzo to La Loma. It was a school field trip all over again.  The familiar sounds of screaming/singing kids at the back of the bus was all too familiar.  It was a good conference. President and the Hermana Levrino gave really good talks about sacrament meeting; that we should go to sacrament meeting prepared with questions. I loved it. It’s something I should work on. Well familys, other than that, time for queztonz.

  • What about shoes, pal?  Did you get a new pair?

I’m using my Brazilian mailman shoes which are essentially high-tech crocs—I highly recommend them.

  • Did you get the package with the beef stick?  That was the closest thing I could think of to send to celebrate Thanksgiving.  I am pretty sure the pilgrims had these.
Yes I did! I got that package and the four Christmas packages as well.  And there is a package that is a box in the office for me so I presume that’s package five. Thank you so so much

  • Do you have any plans for Thanksgiving?

Weekly planning!!!  Um, something cool. Maybe will go out on a date or something, somewhere nice to eat like the milanesa sandwich shop down the block....soooooo goooood!

  • You’re using lots of sunscreen, yes?  You’re wearing it so in a few years people won’t say “How’s it going, old Cancer Face?”

Yes. Today in her letter Hermana Levrino dropped Cain on us telling us to wear more sunscreen.  So yes, I keep on wearing it.

  • What was for breakfast?

Facturas—always a good decision.

Well family, it’s been real, it’s been fun, and yes, it has been real fun. We were on a cyber quest today. Some fruit boy elder got sent home for things which began by violating the cyber rules so Pres said we can only use cybers that don’t have a wall space in between them.  We walked all around to find a cyber that fit that description and this computer doesn’t have a usb thing on it so sorry, no pics this week. But I’ll try for next week.

Make sure to have a most jolly of Thanksgivings and I’ll be sure to make it home for the next one.

Carly, Have a most excellent birfday! I love you so much. I would buy a Jones soda in your honor but alas, these Argies still don’t know the beauty of Jones yet. We´ll just have to find the next best thing.

Well famz.  Thank you for the letters, for the love, for everything. Have a great week. Just say “no” to drugs, wash your hands, and remember I love you all and it´s all good!

Con Amor,


P.S. Dad, I don’t know if you have heard it yet but there is this song that the kids love here called "Gangnam Style" or something like that.  The kids here keep asking me "What does it say in English?" and I tell them 5,000 times "IT¨S KOREAN!!!"  So just making sure you are up to date on your K-pop music.  Have you heard it? It’s just about all the rage here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Raise Your Marshmallow Stick!


How goes it? Oh, it is good to hear from you, fams. Wow, it is really weird to see snow in your pictures. I hope you are very much enjoying it and yes, I shed my green colors and have officially turned one year (40 in mission years) and man does it feel just not at all real. It just kinda seems weird that it changed to where I have less than a year left. Bit of a scary thought but, none-the-less, a cool thing. For my year-day we got a pizza, an ice cream cake and had a very chill lunch. It was a great day.

We also worked in San Lorenzo and, as we were going on the bus to go up there, we saw a European couple on the bus. Through talking with them we found out they were from Belgium, were vacationing in San Lorenzo, and could speak English, French, Dutch, and who knows what else. We then talked about languages and they asked me asked me if I could speak French so I proceeded to recite the first verse and chorus of "Ça plane por moi". Then I asked them (since they were native Dutch speakers) if the term "hoe gaat het mevrouw" means anything (you know, the phrase Kirby Heyborne always said in The Best Two Years). They were very happy and surprised when they heard me say that. So yes, I did get to use some Dutch on my mission—check!

After that we had a lesson with a Catholic family and, at the end when we asked if we could close with a prayer, they said “yes” and immediately dropped to their knees, cupped their hands in the air, and chanted a prayer really loudly for like, 2 minutes. I really could relate to Ricky Bobby when he said "I'm not sure what to do with my hands". After that fun lesson we were walking along and saw this huge frog. Like, it was the biggest thing I've ever seen—seriously the size of a soccer ball. Elder Inman has a picture of me with it so next week I'll send it to you—it was nuts, man.

On other notes of our travels in San Lorenzo: We went to the house of a lady whose son was killed just about a month ago. We had a great lesson with her. When we explained that she could see her son again she just stopped us and said "Oh yes, I already believe that, I know it". It was a really nice and peaceful moment. A lot of the churches here preach "They're dead....oh well" but this woman already had the faith that she's going to see her son again someday. It was a lovely, encouraging example of faith. Her name is the Hermana Cordoba. We are hoping to continue talking to her.

We also had a great lesson with this family called the Familia Ruiz. We talked about prayer and, at the end, the 12 year old named Mauro offered to give the closing prayer. As he was giving the prayer he stopped talking. We were wondering if something was wrong. He was crying. He finished the prayer and, pretty much, the day of the Pentecost rolled in; the spirit just filled the room. He was crying, the little sister started crying. It's really incredible to see people's reactions when they start to feel the Holy Ghost for the first time in their lives—it's really touching.

We had interviews this week and that went very well. It was nice to talk to Pres and the Hermana. They are so nice and funny too. I love them. Its just like having temp parents nearby. They came and inspected our pench and gave us the all good. They also gave us the okay to get an oven (which we just got from the zone leaders today) so we are more than stoked to have it. Its going to be a good Thanksgiving. Other than that, that was the week. ?´s

  • I have noticed in your photos that you are not wearing your glasses. Are the contacts working out? Will you need more?

Yes, it's a lot nicer to not have to push my greasy glasses up on my nose again and again on a hot day while teaching (that was the biggest problem). And yes, I could use some more.

  • We had the Primary Program today and, of course, I cried my way through it. Do they do a primary program there?

Not yet. I presume it would take about 10 years to make something like that function down here but we´ll wait for the day. How was the primary program?

  • How are things going with investigators?

Great-great. We have about 8 or so progressing and all of them are working with members. That’s the key: Members. But yeah, its going amazingly fantastic with them.

  • Are you reading your scriptures in English, Spanish, or both? How do you feel about your Spanish these days?
Book of Mormon in Spanish, pretty much always but yes, on occasion I crack open my English scriptures, especially to read the Bible. The Bible in Spanish is just about the trickiest thing alive. The Book of Mormon—not at all tricky. But yeah, Spanish these days, no problem. Of course I keep studying and everything but now I just feel more than comfy with it, its just become 2nd natureish now.

  • What is your favorite part of PMG? What would you suggest the kiddies study?

I love chapter 10: “How to begin to teach” and, of course, the lessons in chapter 3. My advice to is to really learn the lessons—to find the scriptures that coordinate with the principle in the leccion. If you read those lessons and get familiar with them it will make all the difference.

  • Are you being extra careful in your Mr. Electricity shower?

Always, señor.

  • What is the Argentinean take on deodorant? Do they use it? (I know, it is important to know).

Yeah, for the most part. They always have the wonderful gift of axe body spray here (sarcastic joy)! But yeah, for the most part everyone is pretty good about that. It's the brushing and cleaning of teeth that is the big factor.

Well fimlys, I best be going. We've got to set up the oven before the day's end. Man, a year huh? I was just reading my journal entries from a year ago. It's so crazy to see the transition and changes from then to now. A lot has changed but one thing hasn’t changed and that is that I still love you guys so much. I'm so thankful to be here doing this work. It is true and I'm eternally grateful for it.

And now, a toast! Raise your marshmallow stick for another grand year! Peace out familys. I´ll be home in less than a year. Crazy thought, ha-ha. I love you, it´s all good!

Con amor,


Monday, November 5, 2012

There's Always Money In The Banana Stand

Dear Nuclear family,

What be buzzin' (reference to Molly’s bee costume for Halloween-- the photo with her sticking out her tongue was just about the funniest thing ever). How goes it? Man it was great to hear from you guys. Glad to hear everything has been great.
Yes, it was a bit jittery for me at the beginning of this week with that senor comp thing and all but with a ton of prayer (from you guys too) and humility on my part, I made it through and, oo-de-lolly, was it grand. My comp, Elder Inman, has got a ton of newbie fire in him and loves the work. We figured out some good plans, really worked our butts off this week, and had lots of success—30 new people to teach! It was great. We found a lot of families to teach out of those 30. It really was, like it says in one of my favorite scriptures (1 Nephi 1:20) a "tender mercy" of the Lord that we had such a great week! And we can only hope to have another one just like it if not better. Yeah, it’s a little weird to have the senior comp position but it’s not too much of a change, me and ol' Elder Timmy Inman are just working hard.

It rained the other day here and we live by a canal so there’s always a ton of frogs that hide out there. We were contacting an old investigator the day it rained and, as we were waiting by the front gate of the house, we saw this frog hop to the front of the door, just waiting. Some guy came out, very peeved, and said (in a not too terribly friendly manner) that the person we are looking for had moved and to stop “molesting” him (note: the verb in Spanish that means "to annoy" is "molestar"... how ‘bout that fun fact). We really weren't paying much attention at all to him because we were looking at the frog that was waiting by his door.  Pretty soon it hopped into his house while he was busy telling us off. We just grinned very broadly, bid our farewells, and he went back inside and slammed the door. He didn’t even notice the frog, ha! We just about died laughing afterwards. A scripture we find in Exodus (Exodus8:3-4) just about describes this uncanny event perfectly. Other than that, nothin’ much to report, we just worked so hard this week; I feel so good now and a lot more confident. Huzzah! Now on to the questions:
  • Tell us more about your companion.
Yes, my comp is from Cali and played football. He kinda reminds me of Jordan Esteban. He went to the Coachella music festival in 2010 (I about passed out when he said that) and he saw Muse and all those great bands. We have a lot of music similarities. He’s a great kid, hard worker, very focused. Tyler Glenn from the Neon Trees was in his stake. Just a good kid, that Elder Timmy Inman.
  • How does the whole cyber thing work? Are they nice places? Are there many around?  Do many people have computers in their homes?
You go to the cyber, ask for a computer, and are charged by like the half hour.  When you’re done you pay up. They vary. This one is about one of the nicest ones I’ve been to. Some of them are really sketchy and full of noisy, dirty kids. And yeah there about 2 or 3 in every quadrant. And yeah, a lot of people have computers. Its jacked up because a lot of people live in just tiny, puny, living conditions and are very poor yet they manage to have the newest thing from Dell—sound system and everything—priorities peeps!
  • How is it going with investigators?
Great! 30 people! We found a family of 9 the other day in San Lorenzo, for example, and they are very nice and humble. They are called the Familia Peares. We’re going back to teach them this Tuesday.
  • What’s the size of your area?
Pretty big. About the size of Lindon I would say.
  • Who do we thank for feeding you these days?
We ate some amazing pizza at the Familia Gastelos the other day (finally something that’s not fish and onions) and we had some tasty Milanesa at the Familia Reynosa’s house the other day. The good peeps here are always feeding us.

Well that’s about it. I’ve got to go fill out some 24 month convert sheet so when Elder Viñas comes to visit us in November he won’t smack the back of my head. But family, thank you so much: For your prayers, fasts, everything. I’m so grateful for all of that. I could feel them throughout the week. Prayer helped a lot this week. I know when we pray that real miracles will happen: Our burdens will be lightened and it’ll truly be all good. It’s gonna be a great week this week, I can feel it (for you guys and me).
Well, I’m gonna turn a year this week. That’s about the weirdest thing ever. I’m gonna find some way to celebrate it as should you guys.  This is cause for a celebration, of course. I love you so much. Have a great week. I love you guys. It´s all good!

Con Amor,
The Law Firm of Allphin & Larsen

Friends in the Font

San Lorenzo

My New Motto