Monday, February 25, 2013

Great Lessons


I’m writing to you from the great and spacious cyber where the kids smell like they didn’t quite finish up in the bathroom and my distaste for Counterstrike and Left 4 Dead grows a little bit more each time.

I’m wearing a sweater 'cause for all the sudden it got cold here and I love it! I'm really actually very jealous of you guys and your cold weather. There was a moment the other day when it was hot and we were under a baking tin roof hut where I said to myself "man I miss snow" and "man I'm just bleeding sweat while talking to some stranger and I don’t feel the slightest bit embarrassed/awkward. IDK if that’s the sign of rolling well with the changes of almost 16 months or if it's just always that bad.

Anyway, its been a better week. We have a mini missionary with us. His name is Elder Rolleli from San Pedro, a city in the Jujuy province. He's way chill and way tight and really loves to learn about the mission work. He's waiting for his call right now. He is a great help to us.

We had some good lunches these past few weeks. We had a traditional Bolivian soup a few days ago which heartily included mundongo and yet it really wasn’t that bad. Not great but I had 2 bowls of it. its just kinda hard sometimes to accept the fact while you're eating that you have stomach in your stomach. It's a joy! That, and we had like, I'm serious, 3 docenas (or 36 empanadas) per person this week. IDK what happened but the members went empanada crazy for the meals. It is also the time of the great carnival parades. We saw it all: Big giant Indian costumes and the ladies with the feathery things. We didn’t see quite all of the parades as we were just passing and because the costume the girlies have means no clothes at all. That and they are drunk and like to call at the missionaries to come..."teach them". So for the best and the better, we avoided that part all together. We expect the drunk people and the snake cat callers as Jujuy was plagued with them 3 fold this weekend for the fault of carnival. I believe carnival has finally past but I'm not sure. Jujuenos can keep holidays like "Dia del niño" and 9 of Julio" going on for a month. We´ll see how that goes.

We had some great lessons this week. We went to a house of a recent convert named Natalia whose mom is not a member and was super against the idea of Natalia going on a mission. We were talking with Natalia and her mom when I felt impressed to ask Natalia the question, "Why do you want to go on a mission?" She gave a sweet explanation. She said the church literally saved her life. She was walking with drugs, alcohol, stuff like that and said that the gospel is important to her. I then felt to ask her why these things are important to her? She then opened up with a sincere (the spirit was here) super strong testimony about why. She was in tears explaining why these things are so dear to her: How Jesus Christ saved and continues to save her life and strengthen her through the gospel. I then shared a scripture at the end of her testimony from D&C 4:3 "Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God, ye are called to the work" (thank Shawn Rapier for making me memorize that scripture when I was 12). I then told the mom that, as she heard, Natalia has these desires to serve the Lord, to bring others this happiness. The mom said she know it's important to her daughter but it's just so hard. I then read with her John 3:16 and told her how the greatest love  God has shown for us is when he gave us his only begotten Son so that others can believe on his name and be saved. I explained to her that she is letting go of her daughter, her best friend for just a short while so she can go into the world and share the gospel of Jesus Christ so others can be saved through it. I told her there is no greater love you can show to your daughter, your family, and God than by letting your daughter go on a mission and allowing her have the chance to share such great news. I said how I knew it was the hardest thing to do in my life, to leave my family, friends, my life, everything. I said I couldn’t even begin to describe how hard it was for my family and friends--especially my Mom but I know and they know, its all worth it. They've seen the blessings on both sides and know the importance of such a work. I said how it's hard at times but it´s all good and it's all so worth it. Her mom, who was just minutes ago crying from sadness was now crying with joy. Her heart was really touched that night and so were ours. She later accepted a baptism date. Natalia told us later how her mom used to HATE the missionaries and wouldn’t even let them in the house to talk to her but bit by bit, missionary by missionary, she is changing. She's doing that Grinch heart thing (how many Grinch references is that in all my emails, by the way) and she is really being touched by the gospel. We are baptizing her son this weekend. The gospel is tight. 'Nuff said.

Thanks for the advice last week, it's duly noted. I'm gonna try and help him with that "turn it around " strategy to try to make the situation better and I'll try not to get down and be a bad sport. I'll work on that. The mini is helping a lot with that also--the whole “working hard” thing. It's good, dude. That’s the week, pretty chill. There’s always money in the banana stand. Now, onto the questions...

Did you hear they were opening up 58 new missions throughout the world?

FREALZ?!! That’s nutz, man! I can't believe it. I was talking to president the other week when I was in Salta and he said that when we get our newbies its possible some elders will have 2 kids--scary thought but i like it. I'm so, so, so, so beyond stoked to get a kid.

When do the new missionaries come in?

We are hoping, praying, and our whole mission is fasting this weekend that the newbies will get here on the 11th of March (I think that’s a Monday). We are expecting 72 missionaries.

I see you're wearing your old belt. Didn't the new one work out? Do you need anything?

No, no. Its all good. I'm still using the belt I had from the start so the other belt is waiting for the day I break it in. Thanks so much though. As for now, I'm pretty good on stuff. I'll get back to you on that, though.

Well fambs. Peace out and what not for this week. Have a good one. Pray it will be continuously cold here in Jewjewy and, of course, that all will be well and working in Aeroparque. I love you guys, I'm so so thankful for all your efforts, encouragement, prayers, fasts, and understanding with my newly acquired crappy English speaking and writing skills. It's much appreciated and much felt. I love you! It's all good.

Con Amor,


p.s. There will be pics next week!

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Best AA Meeting Ever

Oh Familyz,

How it is so so good to write you;  It feels so good to hear from you guys. So good to hear it was a good week and that all was well and that California is about to get rocked (and I don’t mean by earthquakes) I’m talkin' bout ol' Dillon Bauer. Give him a shout out for me (and the hug Will Ferrell gives his real brother in the Step Brothers movie).

It was, well, an okay week here.  Yes, we are teaching Maxi and Noellia again. We are planning to have a "family-night owing" with them tonight and that’s going good. As you know the beso (the customary salutation they have here where you half hug and kiss someone lightly on the cheek) is big here in Argieland and as missionaries we can’t give besos to the girls but with guys its fine (it’s not as appealing when you put it like that) but boy, have I gotten man-besoed a ton this week. From a recent convert, to a less active, to an investigator. ..and it’s like totally normal here but man, it´s kinda like the "I don’t know what to do with my hands" level of awkwardness kinda of deal. So yeah, anywhos.

We were at church yesterday and my comp was teaching gospel doctrine class and asked if everyone could give a short introduction of themselves. What unfolded was an alcoholic’s anonymous meeting. After people told their LIFE stories and cried, we had about 5 minutes left of class at the end. The people didn’t seem to mind so we called it a success. But yes, it was a good enough week. Not much to say.

I’m sorry but now this is going to turn into a vent letter. I feel just kinda bad. I’m here in Areoparque and I’m struggling with some things. My comp is a cool enough kid but is just well, idk. He´s technically my comp but he isn’t. We are waiting for our new missionaries. He´s okay but I kinda feel I’m with a five year old sometimes. Like, I’m all cool with being fun and funny (you know me) but there are times, things, and places where it is just not right to be insanely immature or to talk about certain things. He always wants to tell creepy stories and make those belittling comments like, "You suck, haha just kidding." He is continually complaining because he was originally called to Venezuela but do to visa problems he’s permanently here. He doesn’t really want to work and with all that it’s just bringing me down. I’m losing my will to pull him along and am having a tough time to feel the spirit.  Every time I want to change things it just doesn’t work. Again, he’s a cool kid but I’m just getting a little depressed being with him and not feeling the spirit like we should.  Any advice, anything I could do?  Please pray this week that:  I can have the will to work hard, focus on the work, forget myself, feel the spirit, work well with my comp, the area will progress, and we´ll find many people to teach. The area is struggling and really, I just need a boost in vision, to really focus and get in tune with things, especially the spirit. Sorry it’s a vent letter. It’s just, it’s one of those times. It’ll get better. It always does but for now "pray for dad"...or us.

Well, fambilyz onto the queztions:

  • What kind of cereal are you eating in the land upside-down under?

Frosted flakes, trix, fruit loops, cheerios, life, etc.  They are super pricey though. They have cereals kinda like those bottom-shelf Malt-o-meal ones so those are the ones to buy.
  • Do you see a lot of leather items for sale?  In the tourist shows of Argentina they always feature leather goods and I just wondered.

Yeah, here not much but in Salta, that’s where you can get some legit leather.
  • Are you a two-man pench now?

Yeah, it´s not as fun though. I miss the four-man pench.
  • Do they have to adjust your time to keep up with all the changes going on with missions?

Yes, I found out I will get an extra week. This transfer is 7 weeks (only this one) so I will have just one extra week. I don’t know how it’ll play out but that’s all we know so far.
  • Who are you teaching?

We are teaching the familia Leal who attended church yesterday and the hermano Garcia who also attended. The Hermana Leal is super cool:  A little old lady who just wants to feel the spirit. We also have the Hermano Garcia who is basically Bill from King of the Hill (same whimper and everything) but they are chosen guys. Oh, and also this girl named Sandra who lived in Salta for school but is living here again. We are teaching her the lessons and she is going really well. We hope to find much more people this week.
  • So what did you and the president talk about?

The usual:  Music, girls, sports, weather.....or wait, maybe not so much. No, we talked about how I feel in the mish, goals, if there’s anything he could do for the area, stuff like that. He’s just a very good guy.

Well my family, I best get going. Have a great week. Sorry for the bummer letter but pray things will get better.  I’m going to try my best this week with everything but your support will be amazing. I love you guys so much. This is the true church. This is the true work. Christ is our Savior and I’m so grateful to be a missionary. I love you guys. it´s all good.

Con Amor,


Peach Pizza--Steamy!

Power Lunch

This is the place!

Buena Vista
3 Liters!

John 5:39

Monday, February 11, 2013

Rey Momo


What good times, man. It’s so good to hear from you guys and to hear about your week:  Grammys, concerts, and stuff. I feel like you do about the Adele thing. I’m half tempted to leave Jujuy and slay the beast. We still haven’t gotten over "Someone Like You" here in Argentina. I think it’s finally become the national anthem here. Oh how I wish I could say that was just a joke.  That’s so cool to hear about Mark and his family. Man, that is just the goal isn’t it? The Temple! Send them the highest high five from me.
Thanks so much for the letter and yes, It was a good, eventful week. Well, kinda. It’s Carnival this week which includes yet another relatively good excuse to drink a dangerously high amount of boxed wine and pass out in front of the local fruit stand.  There is also people throwing ”festival of colors” powder, oh, and fake snow. Yes, this fake snow is called "Rey Momo" and its sucks. It’s like sticky lemon-scented shaving cream that you can spray on people. We were in a middle of a lesson and our investigator whipped out a can of rey momo and sprayed us. I later got the can and got him back. It’s all good fun and games until you start walking in the heat of the day and the foamy rey momo stuff starts to get sticky so you feel this greasy, hot stickiness the entire day. But carnival is pretty chill here: No danger, just rey momo.

We had interviews with Pres. this Thursday pasado and it was good to see and talk to him. Our whole zone was there and man, our zone is so, so tiny. Like really, 16 missionaries. But it was good to see everyone.
We finally got in contact with Maxi and Noellia which was nice. They are actually doing really good now as they are starting to read and pray again. I’m telling you, the key in life lies with these things: Pray, read your scriptures, go to church— simply beautiful and beautifully simple. We are continuing to visit with them.

We had a great day at church yesterday. This guy we our teaching named "Garcia" (a little old guy who has a very sad life because his family left him) came to church from the help of his neighbor who is a member. He says he feels really good at church and loves the feeling of acceptance at church. We also had a lady come to church named the Hermana Leal. She is a super cool little grandma who came as a promise to us. While she was there she felt the Spirit so strong in sacrament meeting that, when she tried to explain how she felt, she couldn’t really quite express it. I can feel for her. There’s also this kid whose name is José and he’s the boyfriend of a girl in our ward. When he came 2 weeks ago I talked with him and gave him a little tour of the church and sat in the classes with him.  After that we had a lesson with him where we invited him to be baptized. He lives in another part of Jujuy so I hooked him up with the missionaries in his part of town because they can get to him to teach him easier and stuff but he will only go to the church in Aeroparque. Now, every time I see him, something  has changed. At first he had a gnarly, wachiturro haircut and clothes and piercings and stuff. The second week he dressed a little nicer with a great attitude to continue to learn about the gospel.  Then yesterday he just had an unbelievable light to him and no piercings, nice hair, dressed nice and with an attitude of a love for the gospel and an attitude of "GET ME BAPTIZED!" He´s not in our area so the baptism doesn’t count for us but who cares?  It was just so nice to get to know him and help him along the way. It’s just such a good thing, the Gospel and all. Way chill. But yes, that about does it this week. Queztonz...?
  • Just to keep track of the packages, did you get the package with the pills, and the sunscreen?
Yeah, that was the one I got last week.

  • How are your shoes holding up?  Do you get wet walking through the rain?  Are you in a rainy area?  Did you ever buy boots?  Would you recommend having them?

Great. Yeah, they get wet but it’s not bigs. Its rainy season here so it’s been raining almost every day but I have yet to buy boots. I really haven’t had the need for boots but other missionaries can’t live without them so I’m really not sure.
  • Are your clothes holding up okay?  Are you getting to be a pretty good ironer?   Is your new belt the right size?  Did your shirt fit?  Are the socks as good as we hoped?
Fantastic! I’m still holding on to the one favorite pair of gray pants I have but I’m thinking they are approaching their last days. But yes, the ironing goes well and the shirt fits great! And those socks are miracle socks. So incredible! Just like the kind mother used to make.  I highly recommend them.

Well famz, that about does it. Carnival is just about to be overrun by Valentine's Day but it goes on in spirit. Have a most amazing week and a most happy Valentine’s Day. The other day my neighbor was blasting the Best of the 80´s which included Pat Benitar, Bryan Adams, George Michael, Air Supply, and Extreme’s "More than Words".  I remembered you guys telling me that a guy sang that at a BYU ward back in the day because he said it represented his love for Christ. I listened to the words and yeah, I can totally see how he justified that one—not. I still don’t see why we didn’t sing "Sweet Dreams" by the Eurythmics,  it’s just as deep in meaning! Oh well, there’s always my homecoming, I guess. I love you so much family! it’s all good!
Con Amor,

p.s.  I tried to send a Christmas letter to Zach in Paraguay and Nick in Guatemala but the letters came back to me. I guess they weren’t up to pouch standards. Maybe I could send the cards to you guys and you could send them for me if that would be ok. But I did get a letter from Zach the other day. It was so cool. Tell Sis. Hulsey to tell Zach I said "thanks man!" and I’ll be writing him soon.

Monday, February 4, 2013

I Don't Mean To Bore You But...

Dear Creznens,

Well hey dare! How goes it? Good to hear you had a good week. That’s so cool to hear about mark and his fam. They are so cool. Give them the utmost props from me. 

I’ve got to say, Argentina is loaded with awkward teaching experiences, and in just about every lesson. It’s one of those things where they try to sidetrack you with stories that have nothing to do with anything so you just reply with something like, "Yes. I think that it would be a great idea to dress up your pets for a family photo.  Now, back to what I was saying about the apostasy..." Or if they just said something ridiculous that had nothing to do with anything you try to find the tiniest smidgen of doctrine in their commentary. 
For example: If they say that faith was the reason their son stopped picking his nose and then go on a 5-minute spiel about it, you say something like, "Thank you sister so and so. I too testify that faith is an incredible principle" or something like that. Teaching is an interesting thing. You’re gonna have those people but it’s just good to remember to always testify so the spirit can bring the truth to everyone.

But yes I’m typing youz guyz from the very cyber that I told myself a year ago that “It will be a cold day in infierno before I go to this cyber again”. Here in the cyber it’s a scene very similar to the one in the Grinch where he’s complaining about all the “noise, noise, noise, noise!” It’s kids playing Left 4 Dead at insanely loud volumes and 3-year olds swearing because their character died—now that’s class!
Man, oh, man what a week it was.  

I forgot to say that last week WE HAD AN EARTHQUAKE! It wasn’t big or anything but dang it was tight! I was teaching with my mini and I thought someone hit the wall in the house we were in because we heard a loud “BANG!” and the floor suddenly felt like the Tower of Terror drop. It was so crazy. We finally realized "Dang! We’re in an earthquake!” So we hurried and got everyone of the house and the earthquake stopped. Not a lot of damage: A couple blocks out of place but man, was it just so crazy! I loved it!

By the way, before I forget, the ward here has a Facebook.  It’s like "Barrio Aeroparque" or something like that. I think I have got some photos on there so you can check 'em out.

Our mini left for home today so it’s just me and ol’ Mariño. Having a mini was fun but it was kinda like having a kid:  They always want to eat, sleep, drink, sleep. I had to remind myself that I was in those very same shoes once and how I was so thankful when my dear Papi (who just wrote me an email) and I got something to drink or something like that. “I am patience!”

It was a kinda tough work week because we didn’t get a lot of stuff done. The mini trio was kinda slowing us down so are hoping the work will increase with just us 2. But do pray we´ll have a good week. We had an investigator that didn’t show up this week as we were prepping for his baptism which was pretty sad. I got kinda down about that and I’m still kinda bummed it wasn’t a great week but it’ll be a great week this week for sure for sure! It will be. 

We went to Centro today with Elders Montano and Oyarzun and we ate my favorite pizza, peach pizza. It was soooo good. It was in this nice little Italian restaurant. As I was eating my pizza, a poor little beggar boy came up to our table, got down on his knees and started begging for money. I didn’t have any money with me, just my card. I felt really, really bad that I had to turn him away and that kinda got me down today. It’s a rule we can’t give out money but dang, It was just such a sucky moment. Other than earthquakes, tired minis, and being Scrooge it was a relatively normal week and yes, I do have time for questions this week. Yes!

  • Do you know how long you'll have a mini missionary?

Just till today. We may get another one soon but who knows. We had 2 weeks of minis. Mini Elder Torres just left to his house in Salta today in the morning

  • Can you find decent sunglasses in Argentina or do they mainly have big old Jackie Kennedy Onassis ones? Be sure and get some if they do or even if they don’t.

Down here the labels say "Ray Ban" or "Dolce and Gabbana" but they are as fake and truco as sunglasses can get. I’m not even sure they can be legally called sunglasses. Who knows?  The search goes on but be sure to send some just to be safe.

  • Do trainers make breakfast for their greenies?

The other way around.....ha! You know, I’m not sure. I know I will though, like pancakes or something or a big bowl of Cheerios and yoghurt. Something *click* real nice.

  • Anything new with Maxi and Noella?

We haven’t been able to see them in the longest time. We are gonna be in their neighborhood tomorrow to try and catch ‘em or something.

  • Any cool teaching experiences lately?

We have been trying a thing in the lessons now where we actually sing a little hymn or something before we start and at the end we kneel for the closing prayer. It’s really cool how you can invite the spirit and it just guides the course of the whole lesson. That, and Elder Valero and I did divvis and we did this crazy contact idea where you get on a bus full of people and, in an essence say, "What’s up? We are missionaries from the LDS church and were here to share a message with you guys and we´ll be coming around the bus to talk." Then we go around the bus and talk with the people, present them with a card or something, take down their address (which you can’t read later cause you wrote their directions as you were standing up as the bus was off-roading). it’s a fun way of contacting. We don’t do it much but it’s fun. As you watch the people hurry and jump out the windows of the bus or kill themselves like the people in Airplane did when they were talking with that guy who says at the end, "I don’t mean to bore you, but..." it’s all good stuffs

  • I am sending a package tomorrow if you have any last minute requests?

Reese’s!!!!!!! Lots of Reese’s products but not Reese’s Pieces (the little candies) they are just not good.

  • I bought a package of Valentine Brach’s candy hearts that I was going to send you (but I didn't).  I noticed on the package that they were a product of Argentina.  I thought that was a lot of work to go from Argentina to America and back to Argentina.  Funny.  Have you seen any Valentine candy?

I got a package this week (thank you!) but I haven’t seen any candy of Valentine's here yet but worry not. Ya’ did good!

  • Was that llama skin as gross as it looked?

Yeah, it skin stunk so bad. Elders Valero, Lang, and I burned it after Carrillo left. Carrillo bought it thinking it was gonna be something small (like a little llama pelt) it turned out to be an entire llama with bugs still in the fur and salt still on the pelt. It cost $35 pesos in total which isn’t a bad deal for 2 llamas, I guess. I about died laughing when he got the pelts. It was just so good! So awkward.

But yes familys. I best be going but I will be hearing from you guys later. I love you all so much and hope all is well and good and that you guys will have a great week next week. Pray that everything will be all good here and that we´ll have a great week as well. Happy Groundhog Day. Don’t drive angry. I love you, it’s all good!

Con Amor,


The Name Says It All