Monday, November 25, 2013

Be Of Good Cheer


Sounds like you've been keeping busy! Yeah Dad, its weird thinking of all the moving you do and the people you meet on the mission. Its hard to believe I've only been doing this since June, even though I still have no idea what I'm doing:) And I know you'll be great in your new calling! And thats too bad the Duves are moving, they're moving to Portland? Tell them the temple there is way cool. And good luck on the vacation!

So this week has been pretty good. Yeah, I'm still with Elder Jones in Mayor Drummon. Transfers are next week (every 6 weeks, except that I got here during the 2nd week of this transfer). So I should know if I'm staying and what-not next week in my letter. And I'm super sorry, I keep saying I'm going to send pics but I don't know if I can this week. I'M SUPER SORRY! We're at a different computer place than normal and I'm pretty sure these computers are like 20 years old, and we can't get them to work right. I'll keep trying after I finish this email to see if I can get it to work. Sorry! I haven't been very good about sending pics, I know...

So this week hasn't been super eventful. We've had some times this week where we just honestly didn't know what to do or who to visit. Aldana isn't progressing so much as an investigator, and our other main investigators have been out of town for a few days now, and we've sort of been struggling to get into houses. Still a good week though. We've been practicing as a choir because the missionaries in our zone are going to be singing in stake conference this weekend. The mission president´s wife is helping and keeps telling everyone to listen to me because I apparently have "perfect tone"...not sure I believe her, but I guess russian choir was good for something! So thats fun.

Dad asked a ton of questions in his email, so I'll try to answer them. As far as american restaurants, I've heard there is a burger king and a mcdonalds somewhere, but there isn't anything like that in our area, and people don't really go there very often. I've heard one burger there is like $10 (US) and that its where the rich people eat. Yeah we don't have thanksgiving, although there's a family in our ward from the US, so we were planning on doing something with them, except the husband left town and won't be back in time, so I don't think we'll be able to do it. But the wife brings food to our pench each week, and its always american food, so Im not missing the US too much in that sense. But yeah they have some of their own holidays, for like everything. I think today is actually a holiday... but I have no idea what it is. Apparently a few years ago the government made sure there were patriotic type holidays every month so that they'd get more days off work (haha at least thats what a member of our ward told us yesterday, probably not true). And yeah, honestly I think just money in the account would be the easiest/best. As far as the pants go, sorry, pants confuse me. I was trying to see what size my slacks are and I can't understand what its trying to tell me... but my jeans are about 32x32. I don't know if that translates over to slacks or...what. And yeah we get to play soccer on pday when we want to try to get other missionaries together. I've only done it once so far because we always end up having other stuff planned on pday and it takes a lot of time to go to where we normally meet up to play. But don't worry about sending any soccer stuff. (That was kind of a weird random paragraph... hopefully you can follow that)

As a verse of the week I was thinking of John 16:33. I like how it says to be of good cheer and that you can be that way because He overcame the world. Really, we all get worried about all these daily problems but sometimes we should just slow down and be happy, because we have a Savior, and thats what is most important. We just need to focus on that and keep our actions focused on that, and we can find that cheer.

I feel like this was a really long email and I didn't really say anything that we are at the end of the email.

Hope you have a great week and that all is well!
Les quiero,

Elder Webster

don't worry, our room is usually more clean than that

something I found in our pench
Elder Summers? Elder HAYDEN Summers??

Monday, November 18, 2013

Elder Western Union


Sounds like a fun week. The caving pictures were way cool! And Hailey sounds like she's been doing some crazy partying out there. Hopefully the new ward will work out well, and the lady that mom is visiting with the missionaries will really start believing! Sounds way cool. And thanks Dad for the tips and scriptures. Also, grandma webster emailed me, I should have time to reply but if not, thank you!

So this week was pretty good. In fact, you know what is really weird? I'm not sick yet. Everyone I talked to before I left was always telling me how sick I'd get the first few weeks. I haven't even used a water filter once! (not sure if you'll be happy to hear that). So thats pretty cool. They eat a ridiculous amount of chicken here, so I guess you could say I'm starting to get a little sick of that, but whatever. 

Haha other random thing, I don't remember if I've said this or not, but spanish people seem to find it physically impossible to say "webster." Haha I haven't heard my name pronounced right in a long time. Haha almost everyone calls me "Elder Western Union" because its the only thing they've ever heard that sounds like my name. So thats fun. Thats even how they announce it at church. Another weird thing here is the money. ATMs give you pesos in $100 bills, which is only worth like $15 dollars, but its like impossible to get change for that. People here hate change. Whenever we want to change a $100 we have to go buy something, and the people will literally take everything out of the csah register and their wallet in order to make change. And if a store can't give you exact change, sometimes they'll just offer you some candy/mints to make up for it. So thats fun.

This week has been pretty cool though. There's a bunch of guys that are always drinking and smoking marijuana that we see hanging out all the time and they always try to invite us to do a bbq sometime. I also met this girl that told us this long sad story about her life and then started to try talking me into giving her my watch. We actually ran into her twice in the same day, and the 2nd time she was singing to us about how drunk she was and asked for our watches, yeah. I feel like there's more stuff happening, but its starting to feel more normal so none of it really stands out. But seriously, its amazing what kind of private information random people on the street will tell to missionaries and how much certain people like people from the US. Oh, and someone mentioned the weather. Its like about 30-35 C every day...whatever that means. Kind of reminds me of summer in Arizona, except that its only spring here.

Dad was asking for more about investigators. There is the family Sosa that we are working with. The wife (Laura) and son (Ramero) have baptismal dates and the husband is a less-active, but they need to get married first, so hopefully they decide to do that. There is Aldana who goes to catholic school but refuses to stick with the catholic church because she says it doesn't feel right and she loves listening to us. This week she invited her friend Guadalupe to a lesson, and Guadalupe loves it to. Aldana told us that before Guadalupe met us she thought mormons were brainwashed, but now we've taught her twice, seems eager to come to church with us, and loves participating in lessons. We also met the family Muñoz this week. They've had some recent deaths in the family and seem interested, but we haven't been able to sit down and really teach them yet. There's the girl Milagros, who is the grand-daughter of a recent-convert. She was supposed to get baptized this upcoming weekend, but she ended up not coming to church yesterday because her uncle got out of jail this past week and they wanted to be with him, although they say they want him to meet with us.  Those are the main people we've been working with, but we're always looking for more people.

As a verse of the week, how about Ether 12:4. It says that faith in God includes hope in a better world. We shared this in our first lesson with Guadalupe and I started explaing more about it. I hadn't really thought about it like this before, but as I was explaining it, I started explaining how faith in God really does mean hope in a better world and a better life, but if you want a better world/better life, you aren't going to find it by sitting around doing nothing. You need to do something. Then we started talking more about going to church and baptism. But seriously, I was thinking about that, and God can't really bless you if you're not obeying. He's given us agency between good and evil. As a God of justice, He literally can't go blessing people that are choosing evil. It would take away their agency, because they wouldn't be getting what they chose. Obviously people who aren't obeying all the commandments can still get promotions or have nice houses, but He literally can't give you eternal life with Him if you refuse to choose it, even if He wants to give it to you (which He does).
Anyway, I hope you guys have another awesome week! I'll be praying for you! Good luck with school, work, missionary work and other church stuff, and everything else you're going to do! You're trip to CO isn't for a week or 2, but good luck with that too! I'll try to send some pictures today too in another email.

Les Amo

Élder Webster

Monday, November 11, 2013

Working, Praying, and Having Fun


They split the ward? Hopefully it goes well, and I know you guys will do great in your callings there! Good luck with that! Thanks Hailey for the email! And thanks for the pics Dad! And I'm glad that Elder Rand is alright!

So to answer your questions... No I don't have a car. We walk or take the public buses everywhere. Pretty sweet. I'm serving in a ward-but there are only like 40 active people come each week, which makes it basically smaller than some of the branches in Oregon. We still get fed pretty much every day by the members, but not dinner. They feed us lunch during the beginning of the Siesta. Most missionaries here don't really eat much of a dinner, because most people in Argentina don't eat dinner until like 9 or 10 when we have to be back in our pench (apartment), so lunch is sort of the main meal of the day here culturally. And it generally includes a bunch of chicken/pasta/bread. And then breakfast I've been drinking a glass of yogurt ( read that right...their yogurt is weird), and then some juice, fruit...good stuff.

As far as "unique encounters"...yeah. Not necessarily things that seem crazy here to the missionaries, but things that are very different from the states. Things like seeing tons of dogs (dead and alive) out in the streets and sidewalks, my companion waking up with a cockroach in his hair the other day, people smoking marijuana in the streets, the shop half a block from our pench got robbed at gun point 2 days ago for the 7th time this year, someone breast feeding during one of our lessons, a girl we're teaching telling us about a knife fight she was in last year at school...umm.... So yeah, nothing to out of the ordinary :)

I'm not going to lie, the work is a bit slow right now. I live with the zone leaders and my companion is the district leader, and they told me that last month we had less baptisms as a mission than we have in their whole missions, and a lot of the missionaries here have seemed kind of down about the work lately because of things like that. But my companion and I are determined to work hard and obediently to change things around in our area. Right now we have two baptismal dates set. One with a girl named Milagros and another with a girl named Laura. I don't know if I've told you about them. Milagros is 9, her grandma was baptized recently, and shes basically ready just needs permission from her mom. Laura we met this week. Her husband is a less active and when we found her and shared the first lesson, she told us she believed us because of something she had seen on tv just a couple days before and that us coming was like a sign. No idea what she saw but...whatever works! The girl that I said told us about a knife fight is super close to baptism too... we think. Oh, and I'm emailing this guy I sat next to on the plane ride down to Argentina. I talked to him for a while on the way down, and we exchanged emails because he wanted to hear about my mission. He lives in....Georgia I think. I can't remember, but he's pretty cool.

Oh and you asked about my pench. I've been told its one of the better ones in the mission. We live right above a blood donation place, and...well I'll just send you some pics of it next week. Easier than trying to describe it.

So yeah, its going good. Working, praying, having fun. As always I feel like there is more to say that I'm forgetting. Oh, I gave a talk in church yesterday. We got there and someone in the bishopric came up and asked my companion and I if we could both give a five minute talk that day. So that was fun. Improv spanish talks are always the best.

Anyway, I hope you guys have an awesome week! Oh, verse of the week. 1 Kings 17:9-16. A member read that to us and then told us thats why he loves to feed us. Verses 17-23 were good too.

Well have a great week!
¡Les amo!

Élder Webster

money and something I saw walking to the computer shop

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Most Beautiful Thing I've Ever Seen...

Hey guys!

Yeah sounds like you had a pretty typical Halloween. You guys have all been pretty busy it sounds like. Hope lifes going well! And way exciting about the Lawrences baby! And glad to hear you guys got the pics from Hermana Hunt.

So you guys all asked me about Halloween, so I guess I´ll answer that first. Halloween isn´t very popular here and most people don´t do much for it. We saw maybe like 10 people out knocking doors for candy, but nothing like the US. Although their was a family in our ward that decided to throw a Halloween party for all the young men, young women, and their friends, and they invited us so we could meet their friends. It didn´t start until like 8pm so we had to leave pretty soon, but it seemed cool. My companion took some pictures, so I´ll have to steal his camera and send you some pics. Apparently that family loves going all out on everything. Oh, and we had lunch with them yesterday and I had my first Asado (basically argentina bbq). Way good. I like the food here for the most part. I´ve heard stories from some of the other missionaries about crazy stuff they´ve eaten, but its all been normal so far. They love their meat and pasta. And lots of it.

You also asked what the city is like...I think. It could definitely be worse. Could definitely be better. They´re in a big economic decline and it shows. Haha and they love american music so its weird walking down a street seeing spanish everywhere but hearing familiar music from some of the stores and cars. Even though they don´t generally know what the songs are about. All the movies are US too. Haha talked to a member about Captain America. But of course, everyone´s biggest source of entertainment is soccer. You can´t go anywhere without seeing soccer jerseys or team inisignias graffitied (is that a word?) on walls.

As far as people we´re working with. There´s this girl that went to church the past 2 weeks and went to see a baptism with us on saturday. She likes it all, but she says she doesnt feel anything and is hesitant about being baptized. But she goes to catholic school and has decided to not go through with the church stuff all her friends are doing, so thats cool. Haha my companion told me that they found her last transfer when her and her friends started laughing and making fun of the missionaries in the street one day. So not really sure how she turned into an investigator, We also set a baptismal date with a little girl named Milagros. Her grandma was baptized early this year and we´ve been working with the rest of the family. So hopefully that goes through and the rest of the family will join too. Other than that nothing too exciting. I dont want to sound negative, but the area is a bit dead, so we´ve been doing a lot of work with less-actives and trying to find new people, without tons of success. Oh well, it´ll happen when its supposed to.

How about as a verse of the week, Galations 1:10-12. Kinda makes me feel justified when I have to walk into houses and tell people things that they sometimes don´t want to hear. Yup.

Oh and you asked about the spanish. I don´t know. I get told everyday by members that my spanish is surprisingly good, but I´m pretty sure they´re just trying to give me a big head. How much I understand depends a lot on who is talking and what we´re talking about, and I can generally convey eveything I want to. I don´t know how good my grammar is, but they generally understand what I mean.

Haha speaking of not totally understanding. Yesterday there was a meeting for district leaders that my companion was in, so me and someone else whose companion was in there went to go talk to people in the street. He got here the same time I did. We met this guy who either wanted us to cast a demon out of him, told us he could cast out demons, or told us that someone had cast a demon out of him. We weren´t really sure. I think it was the 3rd one. Not positive.

Anyway, everything is going good! Lifes good here and its fun. Hope everything is good, and hope thats enough information to hold you over until next week! :) ¡Espero que tengan una buena semana!
Les amo,

Élder Webster

PS-attached 2 photos. One of the most beautiful things I´ve ever 10 little kids playing soccer with a flat ball in a dirt street...but doing tricks with the ball I couldn´t do until I was like 4-6 years older than them. The other is a "standard of liberty" we wrote up during our last district meeting. I´ll try to steal my companions camera to send some other stuff

some pics from my comp's camera. Halloween, Asado, the walk to someones house Enjoy!