Monday, June 24, 2013

I (heart) The Bus!

Hey famines,

Oh man, its nice and early this p-day to be writing a letter and I'm not so stoked about writing earlier. None the less, I’m super stoked to write you guys.

How went the week? I’m sorry I forgot to give you a shout out, Dad, but happy birthday! Wow, celebrating 50 years of Joe Allphin. I’m only imagining they threw a roast in your honor with guests such as Lewis Black, Gilbert Gottfried, Cloris Leachman, and for some reason, Mr. Smith (the ex-principal that is). I hope it went well and everyone took it easy on the jokes. I look forward to watching it on Comedy Central.

WHATLKUGL!? Abby’s getting married?! Do send me a pic of the guy if you would and send my wishes and best to Abby.

So you guys saw the world-wide training yesterday huh? We did too! We traveled like 2 hours and all to see it but it was legit. We learned a lot of stuff that we are gonna apply in the branch here and all. I loved it!

In sad news: The Familia A______ did not get baptized this past week. The Hermana got Über sick and the Hermano got last minute doubts. I prayed and fasted for them this past weekend a lot but alas, it didn’t go through. We are praying for this week, though. The Hermano feels more sure now and they are looking forward to this Saturday and I hope and pray and pray and ppp-rrr-aaa-yyy that everything will turn out well. Do pray for those guys too.

We traveled a lot this past week. We took 3 buses to get to our zone conference (which was amazing!) I saw all my good mission buddies there and we learned a lot of things to apply in our areas. It was nice. The first presidency came out said that the missionaries can have more callings in their districts and branches now. So with that, I got called to be elder’s quorum president in Yuto which means I’ll be over the....ummm....3 elders that are attending and the 178,687,276,567,238,645,679 and 1/2 that aren’t...mehhhhhhherrrrrrrr!!! It’ll be a lot of work but I guess its ok. After all, Hank Hill is all about joys of responsibility and the burden of obligation...

Its super, mega, cold, cold, cold here in Yuto because, I guess, it’s officially winter now. There’s no escape with this kind of cold. It’s a damp kind of chill that seeps into your bones. It’s a pain but it’s all good.

The district’s doing all right. It was a bit of a slow week for everyone but we did all have zone conference and the capacitation so guess I can see why. We’ll have a better one this time. Not much else to say for this week, I’m afraid but there are always questions.

  • Did you pick up the package we sent with the Carlsons?
YES! I forgot to mention that last week. I got the 2 packages you sent me. The one from the Carlsons and the other with the Rolos, toothpaste, and all. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I've been scheming about making No-bake Cookies all week with the peanut butter (Homer Simpson drooling sound).

  • Do people in Yuto farm for a living?
Yeah...kinda. There aren’t many jobs here. Its like, you can work during the sugar harvest, in the bakery, as a taxi driver, or you can drink a lot. Most everyone goes into Ledesma for their work more than anything.

  • Since you have to travel so much do they give you extra money?
They give me $200 which does absolutely nothing!!! They are supposed to give us more money soon because the travels rob us dry.

  • Are the buses air conditioned?  Have they stopped blocking the roads with burning tires?
Yeah. It doesn’t matter if it’s hellishly hot or horribly cold—the buses always will be colder than Christopher McCandless's bus. As of late they have been rather chill and have not been blocking our route (which I’m more than happy about).

  • When does Elias go on his mission?  Will he be going to the MTC in Brazil?
He goes in October 2nd and yes, he’s going to the MTC in Brazil. It’s supposedly super nice there, I hear.

Well, that’s about it for the week. Sorry. Kind of a sucky week on my part. But meh, I’m hoping it’ll be a better one this week and we’ll get that family baptized. Do pray a whole bunch for them. I explained to them as plainly as I could about the prayer roll in the temple and that you guys put their names in. They were so touched that it brought them to tears. So way to go, you made them cry. Thank you very much for being amazing and going to the temple, I must say. I hope you all have a good week, full of greasy girls camp dreads and such. A most happy birthday, Mom (on the 26th, that is) I hope it’ll be the tops. So you guys go head on over to Wendover and hit up the Ron White show and the early-bird breakfast special or whatever you guys do for a combined birthday celebration--even the idea of you doing that makes me laugh.  I am sure you can find something equally classy  to do and have a wild time! I love you guys more than you can imagine. I love and miss you all! Till next week. I love you. It’s all good!

Con Amor,

Russ and his district
Birthday Greetings

Monday, June 17, 2013

Nine Coconut Custard Pies!


How goes it all? Good? That’s cool. Hope all was a Fathers day-licious yesteryear. And a most happy belated one to Dad and the papas Allphin and Carter. Here in Yuto, for some reason, it’s absolutely mandatory that all the dads get a cake for Father’s Day. Seriously, on our way to church we saw everyone on their bikes with loads of cakes that almost seem to say: "Nine. Coconut custard. Pies!"...but just with cakes instead. Its good cake, though.

Glad to know the cow head was pleasing to hear about but good sakes, the photo that’s on the blog is so bad. I'll hook youz guys up with a better one if you can take that one off. These guys take pics but they are like the worst pics ever. Just sayin'. I'll get better about sending off the pics I take. It’s just we never have time, you know—sorry—but I digress.

Wow, so this week was great, we had a lot of things happen to us. We are teaching the B______ family but, more than anything, we are teaching the mom and her family (her son is Javier). She went to Tucumán about 2 weeks ago and heard some anti-Mormon stuff from her sister-in-law or something and was all like "Dang! What have I gotten us into?" But we had a sit down and chatted and she’s all good now, we are still teaching her. We baptized her son José Manuel this last Saturday and that went smashingly well. We talked with her a bit before the baptism and had a prayer to start. I was saying it and, as a good/nice gesture before you offer the prayer, you should always say: "Is there anything thing I could ask for you in the prayer?"  She was like, "I want more unity and peace in my family" so I simply did that. It was just a few days later before the baptism that she pulled us into her house and said, "Allphin, remember when you gave the prayer for my family?!" I was like, "Ummmm, yeah, ok, I guess…" She said, "A day after our lesson, when you said that prayer, I talked with my daughter-in-law in the first time in forever and we are getting along then, out of the blue, my ex husband came to my house and I haven’t seen him in forever either and he apologized for everything he’s done. He just wants there to be unity in the family with our kids. I forgave him, my kids forgave him, and there is a stronger betting bond in the family now so thank you, thank you.”  I was really touched that God would hear a prayer like that and answer it like that but He does (: It was great. I told her I had nothing to do with it and it was her faith and the good desire in her heart and our Heavenly Father’s love that answered the prayer.

After the baptism of her son she said, "So, when can we get the family together and get us all baptized?"  Ahhhhhh! It was funny because she said it all like cool, like. We still gotta do some stuff with them but they are working on it.

We are moving ahead and still working with the Familia A_____. They are so so so cool. They are already converted and are always just wanting to hug us because they love the gospel that we had the privilege of bringing to them. When we have lessons with them the spirit is super strong and they are always in tears or something. They are so prepped. They called me this morning and said, "Hermano Allphin, can we all get baptized today?" Ha-ha-ha, they are so amazing! We get them baptized this Saturday so pray for them that all will be well. Thanks for putting their names in the temple. They send their best to you guys and they always pray for our family so you got that going for ya, which is nice...

The district is doing well. We had a lot of baptisms this past week and we are moving forward. Do pray that all will be good with them and all. The district is amazing.

We went shopping this morning and, as we were shopping, I saw this girl and thought, "Shoot, I know this girl but who the heck is she:  A member, investigator, contact? AHHH!" I said a nice "Hola" and she said "Hola Elder." I said, “I know this may sound stupid, and sorry if I already know you but, how do I know you?"  She said, "I don’t know" so I asked her where she lived and she said, “Here in Yuto but also in Chijra in Jujuy  Then I said "Ahhhhhh, yes, yes, ok." We talked awhile and I could finally put a name to the face. It was a member girl from Chijra named Paula and we always passed by her house but I completely forgot her. We talked about Chijra and everything and she said she knew Fernanda and is one of her best friends.  She said that Fernanda is doing great there and is going to church and everything. We are gonna pass by Paula’s house in Yuto this week. Tight!

Well familys, that’s about it.  Questions?
  • Did Elias get his mission call?
Yes, just yesterday: Sao Paulo Brazil in the mission next to his brother. His brother is serving in Sao Paulo but in the other part. Cool, huh?
  • Do you ever have lunch with your district after your meeting?
No, no one has time. We all gotta take buses forever to get back to our areas. It would be nice, though. Sometimes we bring fracturas before the meeting, though.

  • Who’s in your district?
Us, 2 more elders, and 6 hermanas.

  • Is cow’s head a freaky thing to have there?
It’s the norm for like a birthday or a holiday kinda thing (or if anyone asks for it, really) but yeah, it’s totally normal to eat it here (though I believe it’s illegal in the states).

  • How are the investigators doing?
Like I said, super smashin' awesome! We are always trying to find more but pray for the ones we have that all will be good.

  • Is it hot, cold, what?

Now it’s cold—and amazing but it was super hot just three days ago. I miss consistency in the weather.

Well fams, that’s about it. It’s all going swimmingly here and we hope to maintain it that way. Pray that it will be like that. Our families are doing good and everything is well. We have zone conference this week and all so that should be exciting. Until next time, I love you all. Be safe and have a great week. I love you and miss you so much. It’s all good

Con Amor,


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cow's Heads and Miracles

High ho family!

Fact: In the days of the Bible to say to someone “Hey so and so” or “Hey what's your face" you would say "Ho, such a one!" (see Ruth 4:1). So you've got that going for ya.

Wow, family, what a week. I'm glad all is good for you guys and that you saw Mo-Man Jennings at the wedding of Mikey. That’s so, so, so cool. He is such a good guy.

Wow, it was a good day today. It was Elias's b-day today and we went went to his house and had COW HEAD!!! Ahhhhh! It has been a dream of mine ever since I got here and it was great. I did take a great big apple-like bite of the eyeball. It doesn’t taste too bad. It's like meat flavored gelatine. I also had a bit of the tongue (which, we're always having tongue so it was nuttin') but I did get to have some brain and you had to put salt on it. It was so weird. It's like super, super, super soft cheese but, you know, it's brain. I had a bit of a time getting it down but I ate it. I have photos of it and I'll be sure to send 'em to you. But yeah, I finally ate a cow head and am waiting for some sort of bacterial infection or worm now—so worth it—take that, Andrew Zimmern, I ate face meat!

Well yes, it's my first week as DL and it's going well so far. I had our meeting and it was all good. I also got to travel for 2 hours to San Pedro to do an interview for the hermanas there. It's great. It's still kinda weirding me out and I'm waiting for the hives to go down on my face from the shock of it all but it's going good. Pray for me, though. And yeah, I'm with the same comp but ya know, I'm not bummed about it. Yeah, he bugs me sometimes but mehhh, it's alright. With prayer and just doing my job, it's cool.

Man, what an amazing, upon amazing, upon more than amazing, thing happened this week! Get ready and pay attention because it's about one of the coolest things that’s happened on my mish. So yesterday we were looking for people to bring to church. Every Sunday in the morning you go and drag (sometimes) your investigators to church. I was with Elías looking for Juan and Isaac. As I was about to clap outside their house a man came running up to us and said “ don't know why but do you guys wanna come talk to me and my family?” After nearly wetting my pants I excitedly stuttered out a ¨YESSS!!!!! We would love to pass by the house.” So we passed by the house and there was a woman and her little son and they said ¨Please sit down” then said: ¨We often see you guys passing and we felt like we needed to talk with you”. They asked us about why we are here in Yuto. We explained that we are missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  They were like, “Look, we’ve been going from church to church: From the Jehovah's Witnesses to the Evangelistas and we have felt nothing in any of those churches. Our son, who is 7 years old, tells us 'Mom, Dad, this isn’t the right church. This isn’t Christ's church'. So we have always wondered, where is Christs church? Why isn’t there a church about him? Didn’t he set up the church?" After nearly wetting my pants a second time we told them, “How about you guys come with us and we'll show you Christ's church.” They had a clothing stand they were operating while talking to us but they hurried and packed up everything and got all dressed up nice and neat and said, “¡Vamos!”

So we went with them to church. We watched them during the meeting (as we sit on the stand) and the mom was crying the whole time. I went up to her after and asked, “How did it go?” She immediately asked us, “When can you guys come over to our house? At that point I nearly wet my pants AND fainted. I told her that we could pass by tonight. We did and we talked with them about lesson three which is the gospel of Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost, enduring to the end) and they just took it all in. It was incredible! They kept telling us things like: “We feel so good and so at peace” and “I don’t know if this sounds weird to you guys but all this stuff seems like déjà vu, like we've heard this all somewhere before.” We talked with them more and the mom said, “We have never talked about these things with other people because they would think we're crazy if we told them but, about a year ago, I had a dream where a book was placed before me and I remember hearing a voice that said, “Great and marvelous things I will reveal unto you; just be patient and I will give them to you.” A little while after this dream she said her husband was riding his bike in a neighborhood here in Yuto and found this book in the street. She said they'd kept it all this time. “I think this is the book I dreamed about but I don't know, what do you guys say?” Just then she got this book from her shelf and it was a worn down, beaten up, dusty Book of Mormon! Remember that episode of Spongebob when the crazy guy buys all of their chocolateand Patrick's pants explode? Yeah, it was kinda like that. I was nearly in tears it was so incredible. I couldn't believe it, it was just so real. I was speechless, my comp was speechless. What a miracle! We asked, “Would you folks like to be baptized?" They emphatically said, “¡Si!” They will be baptized the 22th of June.

They kept telling us how they felt that whatever was missing from their lives was there now. They were amazed when we told him that the Book of Mormon has these great and marvelous things. They are already married, they want to follow Christ wholeheartedly, they want to help out in the church and make friends in this church. They told us that and many, many things. Mind you, we just met this family yesterday; all this happened in one day! The Lord loves us so, so, so much and he is always preparing His children. He knows when and where they need to hear the gospel: This is a living testimony to that. They are the Familia A_______ and they are a miracle. What a great work this is and how true, true, true it is!

Well, that was just about the highlight of the week—incredible! I’m more than so insanely glad to be a missionary and be doing this, it's a kickin' job. I love it! Anyway. Pregquestionz?

  • Has the rainy season started there yet?
No, and we really need it. It was starting to rain when I was in Jujuy with Mariño but its been relatively hot where I am. It hasn’t rained much but I'm hoping for that to change.
  • Do you have district meetings in Yuto now?
No, I still go to Ledesma. It's just easier for everyone. It's cool.
  • How are you helping your comp stay focused?
Just by trying to show an example and by not doing what he´s doing. If he´s watching a movie or something, I just won’t watch it and make sure I do something else like reading the scriptures or studying. Within a little while he´ll drop it. There are a few times where I have had to come out and say, “No dude, you don’t need to do that.” But with things like that and blessings like the Familia A_______  it will keep him motivated to keep going forward.
  • What's the best part about serving in Yuto?
The tranquility of it all. It's just so chill here.
  • Have you managed to get your hands on that ever-elusive sugar cane yet?
NO!!! I keep trying to find it and you would think living by one of the biggest sugar producers in South America that you could find some dang sugar cane but I'm still searching for some teeth-rotting good fun.

Well famz, I best get heading. Its been a good day. I love you guys so much. Pray for all the people we got going here, especially the Familia A_______they are so, so, so cool, you guys. Pray for the district that they’ll do good and that we can keep finding people like this. They are out there and being prepped. Til next week family, I love you and its all good.

Con Amor,


P.S. and do give Jade Madison a shout out from me. Tell her Atlanta is nice and "Britsy" this time of year.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Whaddaya Mean It's Summer?


Hey guys! Sorry it’s a little late. In Yuto we all have to take turns writing on this newly arrived 1985 Apple Macintosh so it was a bit long of a wait to write to you all today. I’m glad the end of the year was a smashing success—full of Lagoon days and last minute homework procrastination (the best!).

I’m content. This week was an interesting one. It was a normal work week. Lots of our investigators have come home from their vacations (seriously like all of them left) so we are playing catch up. They are all doing alright:  The Belmonte’s, Isaac and Juan, Veronica, José, Manuel, etc . but they could sure always use all the prayers they could get.

Not much else to report on this week. I went to Ledesma for a baptismal interview for a kid who talked to me about Eminem for 45 minutes straight.  The majority of the interview was spent on the great accomplishments of Marshal Mathers rather than the gospel. However, the kid, though a bit fritzy, passed and was baptized. But man, oh man, was it a weird week spiritually. I was getting like, beaten up by Satan this week. I fasted and prayed super hard to have the feeling stop and to feel better and stronger. Yesterday I felt like I was a mess; I took the sacrament and I didn’t feel anything, I broke my fast, nuttin'. I was a mix of "AHHH Bob Saget!!! Why don’t I feel the spirit" and butterflies in my stomach for transfers. We got the transfer news yesterday and Elder Solomon is going to Tucumán, my comp is staying here, and I’m gonna be district leader. After that phone call my anxiety went away, my bad feelings went away (I hope for good) and I actually felt okay. I feel pretty good about being a district leader. Like, it’s not a: "Hey, get me, I’m a DL" kinda thing but it’s a "I think I can do this, maybe" kinda thing. I’m not freaking out yet so that’s good. I get to do my first district meeting tomorrow and that’ll be fun (though I kinda feel like it’s gonna be a repeat of Lane Myers from the classroom scene in Better Off Dead). Pres emailed me some stuff for the district that I gotta read but I’m sure it’ll be good. Just pray for me. I’m feeling good and confident now but I’m gonna be needin’ some prayers if that’s cool.

Well, other than a normal week and President's twisted humor to put me in as DL, It’s been good. I’m cool with my comp staying another transfer, it’ll all be for the best; whatever happens is for the best...though it may seem like "what the heck?" I guess it’ll be good. 

Well fams, sorry it’s a bit short this email but yes...queztonz?
  • Has your rope swing contusion healed?
It’s okay.It’s still there but I don’t feel any pain or side effects from it and it’s not worrying me. When I get back from my mish I want an insane Japanese massage because my body is absolutely destroyed.
  • How are the investigators?
Just keeping up with them, passing by and trying to help them. I’ll get back with some more details next week.
  • Does your pench stay warm when it’s supposed to?
Ehhhhh. Though it is an amazing pench (mission wise) we are kinda border lining on having a fancy Liberty Jail-style feel to things. It’s never quite warm neither is it cool when you need it to be. Luckily, we have A.C. in the two rooms and a heater.
  • What’s your favorite thing to teach these days?

LAW OF CHASTITY!!!!....Nah, it’s like a tie with teaching the Book of Mormon and helping investigators feel the spirit. My favorite part of teaching is when they can detect and feel the spirit. I believe it would be my favorite thing to teach because without the spirit we would just be sharing a nice message. The spirit is everything.
  • Is it a vacation for the kids down there?

No sir. Here it starts in December because the summer here is December, January, February. It still kinda weirds me out to know the kids are going to school right now but kids here think it’s crazy you’re on vacation in the middle of winter.  This whole equator thing is just a big conspiracy.

Well family, that’s about it for the week. Man, are things just zipping by around here. We best get going and getting stuff done. I love you guys so much and hope all is well. Pray for the investigators, the area, missionaries, and me if you get the chance. Well, I gotta go set the Christmas trees on fire. Have a great week.  

Con Amor,