Monday, November 30, 2009
Elder Frias and I found several people this week and had several people committed to coming to church. Early Sunday morning we tried stopping by as many houses as we could to help our investigators to church. It went unsuccessfully. So we went to the chapel with hopes of someone being there. Zilch. We left in the middle of class to try to find people, whether they be new or our investigators. Our investigator Estella recently had her two daughters from Paraguay move in with her, she and one of her daughters came with us. As we returned to the chapel with two people there were three people I had never seen sitting in the back row! Because of our diligence and our hard work we were blessed with new investigators. Tomorrow we are visiting them and I'm very excited!
What else from my week...pants from Sam's Club are unworthy of missionary work, seeing how I have four pair of pants and the two from Sam's have large holes in them. Yes I will buy them here, too bad Walmart is out of my zone maybe next transfer I'll be near Walmart and can shop for some pants. Our refrigerator broke. And I received some amazing photos, letters, comics, and a tie from my family! (the comic about vampires for Halloween and the sister says he needs to get rid of the cape and wear a cute J Crew sweater was awesome). Thank you very much for sending it all. I still have yet to purchase my guitar, but the 11th I will be in Córdoba and I am getting it then and nothing is stopping me.
I'm happy everyones week and Thanksgiving went well. About Thanksgiving, I worked all day and was exhausted and when we returned home we saw an hermano from our branch who wished me a "feliz día de gracias" which confused me. I had completely forgotten one of our most legendary holidays! Next year I'll celebrate for sure.
Well that's it for now. Talk to you all next week.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Okay where to start…let’s go with this transfer business. Today is transfers. Saturday night the zone leaders called and informed me I was staying in Oncativo. They then told me that Elder Abraham was leaving to serve in Rio Tercero. So yesterday was a day of goodbyes and packing (for my companion, and I tagged along and helped out). Then this morning Elder Ab left on a bus (they were out of seats so he had to buy a standing ticket). I returned to the house cleaned a little and awaited a call from my new Elder Frias. He was born in Ecuador but left for his mission from Chile. He speaks less English than I do Spanish so I’m excited to educate myself in this language I need to conquer. I’ve also already done more work today (p day) with Elder Frias than I have the past couple weeks. SO transfers are as simple as getting on a bus and going to a new area while those who stay wait for their new companion to arrive.
A little story about why I need to learn Spanish better. Last Sunday the counselor in the branch presidency asked me if I wanted to give a talk the next week. I laughed and said sorry I will be sick. I had lunch with him that afternoon and he brought it up again. So I caved and said sure but I told him to beware my Spanish was bad and my talk would be short. Elder Abraham turns to me after the conversation and said he was joking. Not wanting to give a talk in a language I don’t speak well I told the hermano I wasn’t talking and it was a joke. Well I still don’t know what happened but yesterday I had to wing a fifteen minute talk in Spanish. This hermano, his family, and my companion all found this hilarious. I spoke studying, and told this story of how I maybe if I had studied my Spanish a little harder I wouldn’t be having to make up a talk. However, I’ve given my first talk as a missionary, it had to be done sometime.
Oh, a funny story, my comp called me from the bus terminal and I came to try and find him but he had been walking the wrong way so we called a cab because it was raining and he had A LOT of luggage. The cab showed up and who was it? Our neighbor and owner of our house (he is a cab driver just like at home my neighbor speaks a language I dont and drives a taxi) good stuff.
Happy Thanksgiving. I'm not doing anything special for Thanksgiving, because they don't have it here and they don't have turkey. My comp is Latin, so I'll probably drink a fanta and eat a milonesa (thin breaded chicken you cook in vegetable oil it's the main stapel of the Argentine diet). Other food here is a lomito, it is like a hamburger kinda and it has huevos (egg) on top.
Well, that’s it for my week. Hope everything is safe and fun this weekend.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
My week...way uneventful. No lessons or anything...keep trying. The church is somehow still growing. Miracle? I think so, missionaries are sharing the work somewhere.
You want a story do you...well you know how there seems to be an uncanny relationship between when it rains and when you wash your car. Well over here in Oncativo a similar phenomenon between rain and laundry.
Our days look like this: we wake up, study, work, eat, work. We just have no success at lunch because everybody is home asleep. Supposedly it's easier to work during the siesta in the city where there are more people, but in Oncativo the city literally shuts down for five hours everyday. Language, still not good, but better. I am having fun, I just need to speak Spanish better.
The temperature has been in the 90s so we are still using the fan from the church, we return it for meetings then go home with it. Some parts of my area are pretty but right now we're running out of water so not really. Some cities have no water (no showers, no sinks, toilets anything) and we're getting that way too.
Transfers take place next week. I don't think I'm being transferred, but everybody thinks Elder Abraham is. But p-day changes regardless of being transferred so it will be on Tuesdays now.
Monday, November 9, 2009
I don't really have any stories this week :/ We talked to a drunk guy, walked three/four miles to get home down the train track because the bus never showed up and we can't find two people who we placed baptismal dates with. We set the dates but now they won't talk to us and they send their kids to the door saying they're not there.
I did not get a guitar this last week but I've been playing the church's keyboard, I'm the best pianist in Oncativo branch. The baptism is a go. The font is in our building, it's way cool. You'll see pictures eventually.
Missionaries move a lot more here than they did in Baltimore. The longest anyone stays somewhere is three transfers, like that is the absolute max.
Some fun little cultural news: the tooth fairy doesn't visit Argentina, but Raton Perez does (he is a rat named Perez). And you place your tooth under the leg of a table and in the morning money is there in it's place. Thought that was fun and you might enjoy it.
I'm enjoying my quest I just want to work harder. It feels like a waste of time if I'm not talking to everyone or anyone. Amongst all the rejection I'm still bright with optimism knowing in time I'll find someone who is open to what I have to offer.I love you all,
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Air conditioning units do not exist in this country, neither do heaters. For warmth, add clothes, to cool off, remove clothes, like all that's possible without getting in trouble. It's tempting, I admit, to follow the Argentines in their way of dealing with the heat. So because it's ridiculously hot, I haven't been able to fall asleep till three all week till yesterday! Twas a miracle. In church they had three fans to help stay cool, the church building isn't used lunes thru sabado (Monday thru Saturday), so we stole the big one. We'll return it on Sundays, but for the first time all week, I slept last night.
And a Spanish update. I have been here a month. Four weeks ago, I could not tell the difference between an Argentine speaking Spanish and a Chinaman speaking Mandarin. Now, however, it's starting to sound like Spanish!! Do I understand it all? Not even close. Can I say what I want? Not even close (in fact I'm often harassed for it). Can I carry a conversation and respond to questions or comments made by friends in their home or strangers in the street? Yes. Was that a yes? Indeed it was. It's miraculous the improvement that has come over the past month, makes me curious/excited for next month.
To answer some questions that have come my way: A tip for packages, stickers/pictures of the virgin or Jesus, otherwise the post office will open it and take what they want. And transfers are crazy, nobody knows when they are this time, President said it was a five week transfer but another time said the transfer date was the twenty ninth of November so I don't know.
I live in a house that our neighbor is renting out. It's made of cinder block (everything in Argentina is cement and some type of block, and when you say we build stuff out of wood, they smirk, laugh, giggle, and say to themselves "haha idiots, wood is flammable"). The walls aren't thin, they're cinder block thick, everything is just poorly made. Every door has an opening above and below, and many do not have handles, and the ones that do I stopped touching after I broke two (which had been previously broken but still a tad embarrassing and hindering). Oncativo is almost all the same type of house as mine. Mine is actually big though. Most consist of a kitchen/living/everything-other-than-a-bedroom room, and a bedroom. My house has a separate kitchen. Córdoba has lots of apartments (it is set up like a big city, even though it has a fourth of the population of Phoenix it's tall and crowded like normal big cities). Jobs are varied. In my branch, two hermanos (brethen) own stores (half the branch works in one of the stores), one hermano (brother) works in a paint shop, and our soon to be hermano works at a dairy. School is two six year schools, the majority however never graduate (our branch president is fourty something and is working on finishing high school). Kids per family range from 2-4 with 2 being the mode.
How did I get my holes (in my pants)? I have no idea. From scrubbing, doubt it, I've washed them once. My companion has not has that problem. I don't know how bad to consider them, one isn't too bad the other is iffy, and Oncativo might have 15,000 people but it feels like an Argentine St David (a small town in southern Arizona), so I don't know about a seamstress. As for purchasing pants, I'll have to do it in the city. Favorite food, probably empanadas. The asado last week was legit, it was just Elder Abraham and I. And I bought him lunch today while we were in the city (we had a zone instead of district meeting and we stayed to chill). And another good food is their yogurt (yogurt pronounced jscho-goor) is like flavored milk not yogurt (they eat cereal with it and think milk and cereal is crazy).
Well that's about it. Love you all, catch ya later.