Monday, September 23, 2013

Back To The River!


Goodness snakes, how goes it?! Man, your crappy weather sounds just like our crappy weather. It’s either Satan-burn-all-your-skin-off hot or uncomfortably cold and swaps from one to the other about every 3 minutes.

Yes, t'was a most eventful week—one that had some ups and others, downs. The good thing is that we had a baptism!!! Yes! We had the baptism of Gabi (Gabriela’s son). It went amazing! We had it in the same spot as his mom’s baptism. It went super well! My comp got to baptize him and almost all the rama (branch) attended. It was really nice. Gabi was (and still is) super stoked about what happened.

And yes, it was zone conference. It was a pain in the rear to try to get all my district (which, keep in mind, is only a total of 4 now) together as a guy robbed Ledesma of their phone last week.  Ledesma is like the "city" so that’s why they got robbed.  They didn’t get hurt or anything, the guy didn’t pull anything on them he just said, "Gimmie your phone" and so they did. They called me from a phone booth to tell me and ever since then it’s been a hassle communicating with them but, miraculously, we got everyone together and headed off to zone conference. WHICH WAS AWESOME!!!! To begin, I got my last package which had the root beer barrels.  This is the best  as they don't have root beer here so when you give them to people it’ll either be super tasty to them or really nasty and they`ll say it tastes like Bengay and gag—classic! Then we learned about how to teach more with commitments and such. I loved it!! To top it all off I got to give my final farewell to the zone (which, to me, didn’t feel like it was happening) it was a punch in the tummy moment of "Oh man, I’m going home :( but we just gotta live it up until the end. It’s all good.

On a good note, we are planning another baptism this upcoming week. A kid named Ishmael. He´s a spunky 13-year old and we are teaching him and his fam. I’m stoked about that. Also, Elías got released as the secretary of the branch and now its Vanessa’s dad who’d name is Mario. I love that guy. He is so funny. His attitude is a continuous one of when Will Farrell and John C. Reilly go do their interviews in Step Brothers and the secretary says, "Alright Brenan and Dale, you can come in for your interviews now" and Brenan says, "Actually, we will be doing the interviewing around here" and they are dressed up in Nike Kicks and tiny tuxes....Yeah, that would be Mario.  His theme is: "Actually, we will be doing the interviewing around here". Great guy.

I’m sitting here listening to the cyber lady’s music playing and it’s actually a pretty cool cover of Harry Nielsen’s "Without You" by what sounds like the boys from IL Divo. Not sure for sure but one thing is for sure, the women folk here are under the spell which we call “Il Divo”. All I have to say is what Dr. Brule would say in a situation like this: "Just a bunch-a hunks!” Well, that’s about it for the week. ?`s

  • Have you been learning how to cook any of your favorite Argentine dishes?
YES!!! I’ve learned how to make the Argie pizza and asado. Paola has an amazing recipe for Empanadas from Tucumán that I really need to try. Elias's parents have taught us how to make some stuff. I really need to know how I’m gonna make Milanesa.  My favorite dish here is a food called Nepolitana and it's most tasty. I realized I’m going to come home around Thanksgiving and that might be a good or bad thing. Continuing on the food theme: I don’t know what’s gonna happen with American food when I get home, especially in large quantities. I’m afraid I’m gonna pull a Violet from Willy Wonka, we´ll just have to see…

  • You going to stay in touch with Elias on his mission?  Tell him we'll be praying for him, his parents, and Vanessa. 
Oh, heck’s yes. I love that kid! And yes, I’ll be sure to tell 'em that. We are all in a state of "No! It can’t be! The day seemed so far away!" I recall feeling exactly like that. Boy oh boy. But he´s stoked, along with everyone else.

Well frimlys, have a most kickin' week. Pray for us that it’ll be the same here and that all will be good and we´ll go through with our goals and all. The entire branch sends their best and pray for you guys always. Now I best go back to the pench, kick off my shoes and meditate...hey..its p-day after all. I love you guys, its all good!

Con Amor,

Russ and some of his zone.

Monday, September 16, 2013

"Come Thou Font"


How goes it? I’m glad the week was filled with all the goody, goodness of everything in Utah and everyone’s dreams coming true.  But yes, sounds like things in Utah are a smash. Give my best to the grandmother Allphin and all.

Yes, it was a grand week here in the Yuto, we had a baptism! Yay! This kid named José that we just call "Super" was just baptized. Although we had been hopeful it was a surprise to us as he´s told us “No” to baptism upwards of 15,000 times. We were just working Saturday morning around Pres. Angel´s neighborhood and he says "What’s up guys? Oh hey, Super says he´s going to get baptized today!" We were like, "WHAT!? When did he say that?" Pres. Angel says, "Oh, just yesterday when I saw him. I just totally forgot to tell you guys." So we booked it to Super’s house on the other side of Yuto, found him and said, "Is this true Super?"  He´s like, "Sure, why not?" So we said "Ok, so we´ll have the baptism at 6:00 p.m. Saturday, ok?" He said "Cool, at 6 O’clock then."  We had to affirm it over and over with him saying, "Ok, we are gonna have it at 6 and that’s gotta be for sure because we´re going to call a bunch of people right now to get things set up, ok?" He said "For sure Elders, no worries, at 6 I’ll be there". 

We went to go hurry and do last minute baptism preparations: Cleaning the font, setting up chairs, calling people to give talks, etc. It was difficult because President Angel left to go to San Pedro for a conference and Elías left to go fishing with his dad so we had like, zero priesthood. Luckily, we had this guy Mario who helped us so in the end so there was sufficient priesthood for the baptism. 

At 5:30 we headed over to Super’s house and, when we got there, said to his family "Alright! Are you guys ready for the baptism?" They said, "But isn't it at 9:00?"   We looked at them and said, "No it’s at 6:00"  The mom says, "Well Super thinks it’s at 9:00.”  That’s what I love here in Argentina: You can say, "Alright, so we´ll swing by your house at 7:00 pm this Tuesday" and for some reason they hear, "10:47 am Saturday". There’s no confusion in the language, it’s just plain ridiculousness. 

Once we realized we were about to have a baptismal ceremony with no one to baptize we started to panic.  "Where did Super go off to?" we asked.  Mom said, "He’s at a party that’s kind of by your pench." We booked it over there and about pulled a Will Ferrell scene from Old School. We looked everywhere but he was nowhere in sight. There are some members who live across the street so we went to them in hopes maybe they’d seen Super—no such luck.  I looked at my watch, it was 5:55 pm and beginning to look like all was lost until Super came walking around the corner. We almost applied the same tactic demonstrated in 1 Nephi 4:31.  We were like, "Dude! Where were you?" He looked at us surprised, "Elders! You told me 9:00 pm is the baptism!”  (I am patience!)  "No way che.” I told him,  “It’s right now! Let’s go!" So we all ran to the church and got there just in time.

We held his baptism with about 7 or 8 people there. It was very, very nice. I’ll have to have Elías put up the pics on Facebook because we tried to put the pics up on my e-mail but pictures won’t upload. Anyway, we got him confirmed the next day and he was super content in his weird "Super" way. He´s a good kid. He is 13 and is a really good kid.

Both Paola and Gabriela (the Hermana who was baptized last week) gave talks In which they were brought to tears for how grateful they were for the Savior and the Holy Ghost. The Hermana Paola talked about how last week her son was in arrested for some mistake he made in his business. He called her for help so she went to Ledesma frantically looking for someone to handle the situation but couldn’t find anyone. She was in her car praying to know what to do when the name of a lawyer came to her mind. She doesn’t know how she remembered the lawyer’s name but somehow found his number and he was available and helped her son out of the situation.

Gabriela talked about how she felt the Savior has been on her side ever since she started going to church. She was so grateful for the Book of Mormon, how it’s giving her great strength and comfort. President Angel is thinking about calling her to the primary as well. Man, it is just so boss to see the gospel working in action with those Hermana’s—they are so cool. That, and Gabriela is gonna make us fat, she is always giving us food: Chocolate milk, cake, pizza. Goodness sakes, it’s awesome! We are going to baptize her son Gabriel this Saturday in the other river, I think. They are super excited about the gospel.

We have an awesome group of members who follow us to all our citas: Gabriela, Alicia (Gabriela’s best friend), Gabriel, Sara (Elias’s mom), Elías, Vanessa, and Mario Cortez (Vanessa’s dad). It’s so great; they help us out a ton.  They basically teach the lessons for us which is fantastic because that was pretty much the whole purpose of that worldwide capacitation in June (for the members to do the missionary work).  We hope to keep going with that and, yeah. That’s pretty much it for the week; not much else to report on. 

But yes, quezstionsz?

  • Is Elias ready to go on his mission?

Yes and he´s pretty stoked. He´s coming out with us like almost every day. He has his passport type papers all done and I gave him a bunch of my stuff. He leaves on the 30th to go to Salta then takes an airplane to Brazil. Crazy, man!
  • Do you have to set up the baptismal font or is it already set up?  How do you fill it and how do you drain it?

It’s a big, blue tarp tub about 4 feet high, 4 feet wide and 6 feet long with a drain attached to a lever.  It is supported by trampoline-type metal bars to help support it up. There is a faucet next to the font and you hook up this makeshift hose to fill it up. Since it is a cold water faucet you have to equalize it with hot water from the kitchen so do a Chinese fire drill of filling it up, carrying, and dumping buckets of hot water all the way to the back of the building where the font is.  To clean it, (which it does get dirty a lot because the roof is made out of what I can only describe as a sort of Styrofoam which deteriorates and covers the bottom of the font with gucky, white stuff). So you hop in the font and clean it out with a sponge. To drain it you take the makeshift hose from the faucet, jerry rig it up to the drain part of the font, and put the end of the hose near the drain—Count your blessings.

Well, that’s about it. I have my last zone conference this week which means I will have to share my "final" testimony which is the custom for all the elders and hermana’s that are finishing up. I never thought the day would come, it’s unreal and sad.  I just never, ever thought the day would come. I remember looking up at the first zone conference and saw all these missionaries going home and thought, "I’ll never get there".  Alas, it’s about to happen to me. Just more of a reason to work harder and harder I guess. Do pray for us that we can do exactly that: That we’ll have a baptism this Saturday, that we can keep using the awesome members, and that all will be good. Well, I best be going to get a haircut. ‘Til next week, peeps. Have a most amazing week. I love you. It’s all good.

Con Amor,

"Super", Elder Allan, me and the travelling baptismal font.

Gabriella's Baptism

Monday, September 9, 2013

Take Me To The River!

Hey Grimlies!

Oh yes, It is another tasty week here in Yuto.  It’s good to hear that it was nuttin' but good storms, comic book conventions, and JAMES TAYLOR!!! Yikes. What was his set list? I heard a rumor he did a cover of Metallica’s "Enter Sandman" but I’ll have to see if that was a for sure thing or not.

Yes, it’s more than a thousand degrees here in Yuto and, from what everyone is telling us, we’ve yet to see the worst. They say the worst will be here in November. Alas, I believe I’ll be missing out on the 120 degrees of fun that comes with Argentine summer.

You ask why we were at the river, eh? Well, it’s because we had a baptism there!!! Yup, we baptized Gabriela ________ in the river over there by Yuto and I had the honor of baptizing her.  It was a way cool baptism. She is super stoked to be a member and President Angel is talking about putting her in the primary but we’ll have to see. While we were there we had an asado (an Argentine barbeque) and it was most delicious.

The rest of the week was pretty good. It’s just so blasted hot there. I guess it makes things interesting but all my dreams of getting all tan and hunky are all fading away as I'm just getting red. People are just baffled by this phenomenon asking, "Why are you so red?" I want to respond by licking the palm of my hand, smacking them in the forehead and saying "Why do ya' think?"  But that would be mean so I don’t usually do that...most of the time.

Nothing much else to report on, I’m afraid. I believe we are going to have another baptism this Saturday.  It’s a kid whose family is almost all baptized but him? No. We made a lot of progress with him and we are hoping for this Saturday. The kid’s name is José but we just call him "super" and yes, “super” is the same in Spanish as English. Like, people say "super duper" here.  Yes, it’s all super-duper down here. Questions...

  • What were you doing at the river?

  • Do you go to all the institute classes and FHE events that I see posted on Pres. Angel’s face book?
No, but we tell the members to invite their friends and when their friends come we patiently wait for the end of the class then attack!!...Well, that’s how we met Gabriela anyway.

  • How was branch conference?
We still haven’t had it yet. Its gonna be the 22nd or something like that.

  • Are you wearing your sunscreen or perhaps even a hat?
If I wear a hat than I’ll look like the JW´s around here. Sorry but NO HAT! Never hat!  But yes, I am using the sunscreen.

Well fams, that’s about it. Keep praying for us here in Yuto that all will be well, that we will do a lot of work, that we can baptize, and all that good stuff. I love you guys so much. Thanks for everything. It’s all good.

Con Amor,

The Lazy River

If you have to ask...        

I haven't been on a bike since I was 10!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Cell Phone Woes

Dear Finn Hudsons,

Yay, they’ve got Glee here too. Elías and Vanessa are big “Gleeks” and about came unglued when Finn died awhile ago. All I had to say was, "¡por fin!" which is to say "At last!"....That was until I found out Glee was still up and running :( C’mon!

But yeah, it’s great to hear from all you guys. I hope Labor Day is super labor-y today. Thing of it here is, if you want your own labor day you can get it!  If you don’t feel like going to work today you don’t have to and there really is little to no "consebence" to it. In the words of Morrissey:  "Everyday is like Sunday"....That goes for school as well. You talk to kids and ask them, "Shouldn’t you be in school?" and they’ll say, "I would go but I told my mom school sucks so she let me stay home for the day." Some kids just have it all, don’t they?

Well, it’s been a good week in Yuto. It’s burning season right now and, basically, the entire countryside is on fire and Yuto has a nice, greenhouse effect going so it’s super hot with double the temperature because of the smoke—I SWEAR!!!!  The smoke also makes the sun super red and not bright at all, like one of those nice, polluted LA sunsets. It’s pretty cool but goodness, it’s just so hot. Milk was a bad choice!

Elías has been out and about with us to our citas. He’s been a great help and loves accompanying us. We had Gabriela all set for baptism this Saturday then yesterday got the news that district (or stake) conference is this Sunday in San Pedro so we are going to have to see what we can do about her confirmation. But she’s doing good. Keep praying for her, by the way.

In District news:  They split my district!!!! “How dare they strike the royal hand!”  I was on the phone with the Hermanas in San Pedro this week, doing nightly verification.  At the end of the call I asked,  "Is there anything that you need or that we can do for you?" and they said "Yes! TAKE THE ELDERS OUT OF SAN PEDRO!!!" I was kind of like "What the heck?" because there are no elders in San Pedro. The hermana said that because of the arrival of all the new missionaries they opened up some new areas including a San Pedro 2. I was later informed by the mission office that San Pedro 1, 2, and Belgrano will be their own district. The president said there will only be Yuto and Ledesma as a district...for now. But still:  My district is so tiny! Its better, I guess—quicker verifications, easier traveling....still. Yeah, but it’s cool. But that’s about all for the week, I suppose. ?`s

Don’t forget to tell the story of your cell phone.
Oh yeah! So totally. We had an important cita in the night with a lady name Cristal who is the best friend of Paola. Paola said they would meet us at Cristal’s house. Because there weren’t going to be any other men in the house (and the rule is that you’ve always need to have another guy there) we went to look for Elías at his house. When we got there his dad told us Elias was at Vanessa’s house which is in front of a small park. We got to Vanessa’s house, found Elias, and headed off to our cita. I went to call Paola to make sure she was at Cristal’s house and, when I went to reach for my phone, it wasn’t there. I checked my pockets—not there either. I asked my comp, Elias—no one had it. It was lost, I was freaking out! Everything was going through my mind: "I have to call my district tonight!" "I'll have to pay a lot of personal money to replace the phone!” I’ve lost all my contacts!" I was super devastated and felt so, so bad.

We were still heading over to Cristal’s to teach her but I was planning to say: "Look, I’m sorry but is it cool if we could come back later? I’m a weenie and totally lost my phone so sorry, I gotta go look for it". When we got there she and Paola were waiting for us.  When I was about to tell them about the phone a scripture just popped into my head: "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God". So I thought, "Ok. I’ll do this first then we’ll go look for the phone". As I was sitting there at the start of the lesson my mind was churning, I couldn’t concentrate, all I could think about was that phone so, while someone offered a prayer, I silently said my own personal prayer: "Please, Heavenly Father, help me concentrate. Help me help Cristal then, after we’re done, help me find the phone." When I finished I got a confirmation in my soul with an "it’s all good" feeling. There was no fear. I could concentrate. I knew that whatever happened it would be all right. And the lesson went super! It helped out Cristal a lot.

After we left we went straight out to retrace our steps. We headed over to Vanessa’s house first because I thought I may have left it there but alas, she wasn’t there so we said, "Ok. Let’s go to your house Elias." As I was walking through that park, in the dark, with a bunch of people going to and fro, I saw, in the middle of a couple of shrubs, my phone. It was in perfect condition. Kissing it I leapt for joy.  I’m pretty sure a good number of people were looking at me like "Why is that goofy Mormon kid kissing his phone?" but I had total reason: I was so happy and it was a testimony to me of two things: Number one is that God answers our prayers. What’s important to us is important to Him. He knew my worries about the phone and He would hear my prayers to help me find my phone. Second: I learned that if we forget ourselves and do His will (even if it means risking the consequence of loosing a phone) then He will bless us enormously. It was a funny little learning moment for me and one that I’m super grateful for.

  • Besides the Pokebond, do you and your comp have anything in common?

Hmmmmmmmmmerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrruhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....not much. Well, kinda. Like we like the same movies and stuff.  But we are good buds.

  • I’m glad Paola was called to be in Primary.  Do you ever get to teach Primary?

Nah! Like one time in Jujuy I did but no, we don’t get to teach primary too often. The primary here is like 4 or 5 kids. President Angel’s daughter and niece are always there and are the Anna and Lauren of Yuto. They remind me a whole bunch of them.

Well fambliys, that’s about it. It’s been a good week and we hope it can be an even better one this week. Pray for us, the area, investigators, and all. Have a most incredible week and enjoy your Labor Day with a bucket of the Colonel’s finest... I’m referring to Colonel Klink, of course. Thanks so much you guys. I love you. It’s all good.

Con Amor,

Member Missionary Work