Thursday, July 31, 2014

Good News From Rodeo Del Medio

Haha sounds like everyone has had a pretty fun week (haha except for you offense...). I'm glad everyone has been enjoying the summer. I can't believe school starts in just a couple weeks!

This week was pretty good. The President and the assistants were out of town all week, so it was just us office elders here. Haha I didn't realize how crazy the assistants were until they left. It was way quite in our pench without them. But this week we managed to go and teach several less active families which was great. Haha you know one thing I love about the mission? When a guy that is completely drunk/drugged, walks up to you in the street and mumbles in spanish telling you to come to his go without hesitating. I used to spend a lot more time talking to people that weren't really all there, but now that I spend so much time in the office and the bank, it doesn't exactly happen as much, but we got to do that this week. I was just thinking how at any other point in my life, I probably would have kind of freaked out if that happened, but now it somehow seems normal and the three of us didn't even really hesitate in accepting the invitation. Good times on the mission.

I heard some good news about Rodeo del Medio this week! Someone that Elder Perez and I talked to in the street during my 2nd to last week there is getting baptized today! And do you remember Patricia? Her brother and his girlfriend have committed to pray about a baptismal date and they've been going to church! Haha I literally tried to get those two to go to church for like 5 months, and as soon as I leave they finally go! Well, better late than never I guess. So that was way exciting to hear.

This week I've also been pretty busy with the mission budget (wow, that was probably the most boring sounding thing I've ever written). But the new president and his wife kept asking me questions about the budget worked, and it wasn't quite set up perfectly, so I basically just went through and re-did the whole mission budget while they were gone, to answer their questions. I've been also trying to figure out how to fund a trip to Chile for next week. The secretaries are basically in charge of keeping everyone in the mission legal, and for whatever reason, they decided it would be easier to just have some people leave the country and then just re-enter, so we got special permission to do that. So I've been figuring out how to send them over there. Fun stuff.

So, verse of the week. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. These verses talk about the importance of having charity. The thing that caught my attention was in verse 3. Often, when we think about charity, we think of physical, charitable actions. Verse 3 says that "and though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." So clearly, actions alone are not charity. If charity was actions, then it would be impossible to "bestow all my goods to feed the poor...and have not charity", but charity is more than actions. It is the desire and intent that we have to help others. A gift without real desire to help someone would be hypocrisy, not charity. The other thing that caught my attention was the phrase "it profiteth me nothing". Two things are implied by that. The first is that, the gift, even given without charity, does in fact help the person you gave it to, so in that sense, it is still worth doing it, it just wouldn't help you. The second thing is that, since he is explaining that a gift without charity doesn't help you, than he is implying that the opposite is true, that is, that a gift given with charity, does help you. Its all things I've heard before but it was something I hadn't noticed in that scripture before.

And with that, I hope you all have another great week! Go out there and doing something charitable, with charity!

Elder Webster

He's a Llama!

Hey Everyone!
It sounds like everyone has been up to some crazy stuff lately! Haha I can't wait to see that car you guys bought! The picture looked pretty cool.

This week was pretty good over here in the A-R-G. Haha I can't believe its only been 1 week since the world cup ended. People here were pretty upset, but we weren't allowed to leave our apartment that day, so I didn't see anything too crazy, and I haven't really heard any stories, so it sounds like everything turned out all right. It would have been way cool if we won though!

Haha other than that, its been a pretty good week in the office. Haha every day is so similar that the time flies by really fast. I can't believe I got to the office like a month ago. And I actually like the office for a lot reasons. Its just such a big change. But I guess someone has to do it. Speaking of the office, I have some news---We had "special transfers" this week. My companion Elder Evans got transferred out of the office this week! Crazy. I was expecting to be with him for 4 more weeks, but it turns out I won't be getting as much training in the office as I thought. So that officially makes me the one and only financial secretary for the mission. haha I hope I know what I'm doing! I'm now in a trio with Elder Smith (from Arkansas) and Elder Chamorro (from Columbia). They're pretty fun. Elder Chamorro is the "pensionista" and is in charge of the maintenance and contracting of all the apartments in the mission, and Elder Smith is the mission´s "historian". Haha frankly I'm not really sure what it is he does all day... but...I'm sure its important. I'm still in the same ward/area as before, since I was already sharing the ward and area with them before. Oh, mom, you asked about the ward. We have a chapel. In fact its the first chapel I've ever been in here that has actual pews, so thats cool. Only like 60 people come, so my last ward was actually bigger. I think the sister missionaries that we share the ward with have lunch with members every day but...we never do. It doesn't really work with the schedule of the offices, so we either have to go buy food or cook food every day. Which kind of stinks. Haha although getting to choose what I eat is kind of a fun change:)

Today for pday we went on a hike to a place called Cerro Arco. It was a lot longer and harder than we expected, partially because somehow Elder Chamorro convinced us all to take "the fun way" up the mountain. It was pretty fun though. Haha we even saw a llama! I'll try to send some pics.

So, scripture of the week. This week I read something in Acts 10:1-6 that caught my attention. I shared a thought similar to this a while back but...hey, this is a different deal with it. Haha anyway, in this part, a man has a vision where an angel comes, and tells him that there is a man that will will tell him what to do. I thought that part at the end of verse 6 was interesting. Literally, God sent an angel to go talk to this man, but instead of having the angel just tell the man what to do, the angel told him where he could find someone else (Peter) that would tell him what to do. I thought this was interesting for a lot of reasons. One of the main reasons was that Peter actually ended up learning a lot from the experience, which he wouldn't have learned if God had just done everything. I think its amazing that God always seems to have a way of "killing 2 birds with one stone." God's messengers always end up learning just as much or more as the person to whom He is sending the message, which I think is part of the reason why an all powerful being would bother using messengers in the first place. Pretty cool.

Anyway, I hope you all have a great week! Sounds like a lot of exciting stuff is happening! I hope it all goes well!

Elder Webster

The llama we found on our hike up the mountain, some pics from the mountain and...yeah

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Day in the Life of an Office Missionary


It sounds like you all had awesome weeks! Haha I miss monsoon season! Haha but I guess I'll be there for the next one :) And thanks for sending me a copy of Jordan's email, sounds like he's having a good time! I'm glad his spanish is coming along well! It'll be a little tough in California, not being totally surrounded by spanish, but I'm sure he'll do great. And Dad, I hope the new job is going well, I can't wait to hear about what it is you're doing there. Oh and my drivers license got here!

We had a pretty good week. Haha every week feels totally the same in the offices though. And mom, you asked what it is that I actually do here...haha good question. So I run a "petty cash" system of 25,000 pesos for the mission (which is all the mission ever has in cash at one time), so I keep track of that money and how its all spent and stuff. And then I also watch over all the missionary´s cards, making sure everyone has enough money to pay rent and utilities, keep track of the money the President spends, report lost/stolen money and cards. And pretty much anytime anyone in the offices needs money for stuff, they come to me. I also reimburse missionaries for whatever mission purchases or long trips they have to make. I also have everyone's passports and stuff. I'm actually a lot more busy than I thought I would be. It seems like we're always behind on stuff.

You also asked about the new President. He's way cool. Super smart and humble. Yeah he's pretty much always here at the offices. Well actually, this week he's been out touring the mission, but anytime he's not traveling, he's here at the office, 2 doors down from me. He hasn't changed a lot yet, so far he's just trying to learn and see how everything already runs. I'm sure he'll be making more changes once he's got a hang of things though. But he's really willing to learn and is way open to our advice, which is cool. Its kind of weird having a president that speaks english though.

So, verse of the week. John 6:5-14. This is when Jesus miraculously fed the multitude. What I really liked was the verse where he asked Felipe (not sure how its spelled in english...) where they could go to buy food for everyone, and then how in the next verse it says that he asked that to test him, and that Jesus already knew what He was going to do. I feel like thats how all of our challenges are. Before providing us with the miracle or with help, God leaves us some time so we can try to do something for ourselves, not because He's stuck or because He's not sure what to do, but because He wants to see what our response will be. In the case of Felipe, he replied by simply restating the problem, and had no idea what to do. Another apostle replied, saying that someone had a little food, but that it wouldn't be enough. Sometimes we react to problems the way Felipe did. Haha not that I'm criticizing him, but I can't help but feel that we kind of fail the test if all we manage to do is tell God that there is a problem. He already knows. At the very least, the other apostle was willing to bring what he had to Christ. What came to my mind was the question of "What do I bring to God?" Do I bring Him my problems and complaints? Or do I bring Him what I have, in the hopes that He can help with what I lack? Do I have the faith to ask for a miracle, when I have nowhere to turn? Haha I'm not sure if I explained that very well, but thats kind of what I've been thinking about lately.
Well I hope you all have a great week! I'll try to send some pics later today


Elder Webster

Part of our area

Argentina during a World Cup game.

Argentina after winning a World Cup game.

More post-winning game.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Out With The Old, and In With The New

Its weird having to add the other Elder Webster's email to this list now. I can't believe it. Well happy 4th of July! We definitely celebrated it here. We ordered some food, got out a US flag and sang the national anthem a few times. Haha we made the Colombian we live with film it all for us:) And the 9th of July is the independence day here, so I guess we'll be celebrating that next week too!

We've had a pretty good week. Pretty interesting. Our old President and his wife, the √Āvilas, left this week, and we're working with Presidente and Hermana Goates now. I guess it is a pretty cool time to get to be in the offices. Not many missionaries get to have a lunch with 2 of their mission presidents at the same time. The Goates seem way nice and excited to be here. They're pretty humble and want to learn everything about everything as soon as possible. I'm excited to get to know them better.

Other than that, everything is going pretty good. Still trying to get used to be in the offices. Lots of pros and cons. And its a lot different from being in my last area, middle of nowhere. But its good. All the Elders in here are pretty cool, and they've all either been here forever or they're going to be here forever, so its kind of an interesting dynamic. Okay, not forever, but knowing you'll be in an area for like 6 months feels a little like forever.

So verse of the week, 3 Nephi 28:4-9. I read that week and I liked it a lot. To think that those 3 men wanted to be able to serve others so much, that they wanted to be able to do it forever. Sometimes it seems hard to go serve for 2 years, but to think that we should be able to love helping others so much that the service we should want to give can't all be done in one lifetime. Kinda makes you think about whether or not its even a sacrifice to go serve for just 2 years.

Well, thats about it. Haha I feel like I do the same thing every day in the offices, so I don't really know what else to tell you, but I hope you have a great week!

Elder Webster

My desk

This is where we were at this morning doing some shopping (I decided to finally buy a souvenir or two)

And some pics of my last night in Rodeo del Medio with the familia Gutierrez

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Life As An Office Missionary


  Yeah this is way weird writing you on a saturday. But it sounds like you all had a good week! I love the pictures from Jaxon, and it sounds like Hailey had an awesome time at girls camp! I can't believe Jordan is heading off to the MTC this week either. Ridiculous.

  So Dad asked a lot of questions. I'm technically in the Godoy Cruz Centro area. Its a lot more "cityish" than anywhere I've been before. Its about an hour or 2 from my last area. Its weird living with so many elders. We basically live in the headquarters of the mission, so anytime missionaries have to come to the offices, they have to come sleep at our pench, so we've had up to like 20 people there at a time. And yeah, we swap companions a lot. We're only ever really with our companion when we go to work in our area, and I was only in my area like 5 hours last week.. And we speak a ton of english in the office. Its kind of spanglish, I guess. We still speak plenty of spanish, but almost everyone here speaks english, and we're always calling people and using websites that are in english.. And sorry, I'll try to send more pictures next week!

  So we've had a pretty busy week this week. We're getting a new mission president this weekend so we've been trying to get everything prepared so that he doesn't have to worry about anything when he gets here. I'm definitely going to miss President Avila though. Him and his family are way awesome. So I guess next week I'll know a little bit more about what the new president is like, so thats cool. We should be meeting him tomorrow, so we get to be the first ones in the mission to meet him. And I think we're even going to have a lunch with both of the mission presidents, so we're definitely the only ones that will get to that. So I guess there are a couple of advantages to being in the offices. I kind of like it here, but I definitely don't feel like a missionary now. I've only spent like 4 or 5 hours in my area this week, we've been averaging like 13 hours a day in the offices. Kind of crazy. I didn't realize how busy we'd be in here. Especially with the new president coming. Haha but don't worry, I've found time and ways to follow the world cup though. Its kind of impossible here to not follow it... although I'm not trying particularly hard to avoid it either.. Haha I cant believe the US qualified, thats way awesome. Haha and I think Messi has scored every goal for Argentina so far. The streets here are pretty fun right after every Argentina game. Oh, and I got in a car accident yesterday! Haha its all fine. This guy t-boned us at an intersection, but he hit us right in the rear tire, you cant even tell our truck got hit. Dont worry, no problems. But hey, I need that international drivers license!

   So verse of the week is something the mission president shared with us a while back. 1Corinthians 9:24-27. It talks about those who run in a race, run to win. Those that compete, compete to win. And then he urges us to live in such a way that we can "win". But the "race" of life isn't against our neighbors or those around us. Its against our own temptations, our own weaknesses, and our own problems. Doing well in a race doesn't just depend on how you cross the finish line. The finish line is the smallest part of the race. So much goes into what happens between the starting line and the finish line, and a lot of preparation comes in before all of that. The same with life (or a mission, Jordan!) Haha I haven't actually read those verses in english, but I assume its more or less the same.

   Well I hope you all have a great week! You'll have to give me your mission email Jordan, so we can keep up. I can't believe you're going to the MTC next week! Thats way exciting!

Un abrazo,

Elder Webster