Saturday, July 30, 2016

Week 7 Santa Fe Rural C/Oficina

Hola a todos!

The weeks fly by, and everything is kind of blurring together. It's a little hard to remember everything I did, but I'll try.

This week, we unfortunately weren't able to go out much again. We had a couple of emergencies this week that we had to take care of, including some urgent financial matters, among other things. I also came down with a 24 hour cold Tuesday night that took me out of commission all day Wednesday and Thursday morning. But don't worry, Mom/Grandpa, I went to the doctor, they gave me an antibiotic, I took it with some ibuprofen, rested, and drank water, and I'm all good and fine now. No worries. :)

Last Saturday, after pday, we had a ward activity that was pretty fun. It was a ward talent show! We did a comical bus stop skit as the missionaries from the ward, and I also helped Elder Llanos and Elder Tello with a Peruvian song by playing this thing that looks like a cheese grater with a metal stick. It was definitely a first, but I can now say I have played a cheese grater for a Peruvian song jaja. But it was a great activity, and the best part, we had some investigators there! We talked to them for a while after the activity. It was sad, though, because of all the investigators that we had committed to come to church this last week, we only had one come. We went to all of their houses on Sunday before church to bring them to church with us, but none of them were home, or if they were home, they didn't answer. It's a little hard when that happens, but you just have to keep going with faith, and not stop visiting them. Luckily, with divisions this week we were able to keep up contact with them, and hopefully we can visit them again tomorrow morning and help them get to church this week.

Another crazy thing, yesterday was my last official work day with Elder Thompson! He heads out on Monday to Victoria for a week, and then he will come back on Monday the 8th so we can have his farewell meal and send him off home! He's going to Victoria because one of the zone leaders, Elder Gonzalez, is going home this Tuesday, so he's going to go be the companion of Elder Rocha (the other zone leader) for a week so they don't have to do a trio. Elder Thompson also served in Victoria earlier in his mission, so that will be cool for him to see some of the members again before going home.

I don't have much time, so for my spiritual thought, I'm just going to add on what I wrote in my letter to Presidente Perez this week. If someone could translate it that would be great. :)

Esta semana siento que he aprendido a reconocer el Espíritu más. Estoy más tranquilo, y reconozco mejor cuando algo parece bien o mal, según lo que me dice el Espíritu. Es una experiencia gratificante poder estar en comunión con el Espíritu, y por medio de Él, mi Padre Celestial. Me ayuda a aprovechar mi tiempo mejor como misionero y como secretario financiero, ya que el tiempo es uno de los recursos mas valiosos que el Señor nos ha dado en esta vida para progresar. Al usar el tiempo sabiamente y con prudencia, nosotros llegamos a ser mucho más como Él, tenemos más disciplina, más orden, y más tranquilidad, los cuales nos permite comunicarnos más con Él. Por eso me gusta mucho el capítulo 8 de Predicad Mi Evangelio, que habla de usar tiempo con sabiduría. He estado estudiándolo un poco, y voy a seguir con ese capítulo esta semana. También estoy empezando a buscar y marcar atributos de Jesucristo en el Libro de Mormón, y eso me ha servido mucho en reconocer mejor como desarrollarlos, y lo que necesito hacer para progresar. Estoy muy agradecido por el Libro de Mormón, tiene un poder palpable en mi vida. Es como día y noche la diferencia que hace el estudio del Libro de Mormón en mi día. Sé que es un libro inspirado y llevado a cabo por Dios.

(Translation:)  This week I feel like I’ve learned to recognize the Spirit more. I'm more peaceful and recognize better when something looks good or bad, depending on what the Spirit tells me. It’s a rewarding experience to be in communion with the Spirit, and through him, my Heavenly Father. It helps me make the best use of my time as a missionary and as financial secretary, since time is one of the most valuable resources the Lord has given us in this life to progress. By using time wisely and prudently, we become much more like Him, we have more discipline, more order, and more peace, which allows us to communicate more with Him. This is why I like chapter 8 of Preach My Gospel so much, which talks about using time wisely. I've been studying it a little, and I will continue with this chapter this week. I'm also starting to look up and mark attributes of Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon, and that has helped me to recognize better how to develop them, and that which I need to do to progress. I am very grateful for the Book of Mormon. It has a tangible power in my life. It's like night and day the difference it makes to study the Book of Mormon during my day. I know it is a book inspired and brought forth from God.

Have a great week!

Elder Meyers

The ward talent show

Me playing the cheese grater with Elder Llanos and Elder Tello

Me, Elder Thompson, and Elder Llanos with some investigators after the activity

Last workday lunch with Elder Thompson (we got Subway and pizza)

Picture from the Nuevos and Entreadores (new missionaries and their trainers) meeting a couple of weeks ago

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Week 6 Santa Fe Rural C/Oficina

Hola hola hola!

The mission is wonderful. Just want to put that out there.

This week was a little bit more normal in the office, as we didn’t have a bunch of crazy abnormal things going on. Just the normal crazy stuff jaja. The best thing was that we got to go out and teach a lot more this week! It felt so good to be sharing and preaching the gospel. We found six new investigators this week between the three of us (me, Elder Llanos, and Elder Thompson), and all of them committed to be baptized and to come to church! The biggest thing we are praying for now is that they can keep firm in their commitments. One of the biggest challenges in the office is that because we are limited in proselyting time, we can’t do nearly as much follow-up with our investigators as we would like to, but we do our best, and know that when we do our best to get out and work in the field, that they Lord will make up the difference. It’s interesting, a lot of times, I have a lot of pendientes that are kind of urgent, but if I put them to the side for a little while and go out to teach, even if I can only manage an hour or two that day, the Lord always blesses me with the ability to focus and get things done more efficiently. Truly He blesses us when we are in His service.

This area is definitely different than any of the other areas I’ve had so far in the mission. My other areas were pretty tranquilo. Our area here is basically the heart of the villa in Santa Fe (like the ghettos). It’s called Barranquitas. The great thing is that there are a lot of people who are willing to listen to us, and who are looking to make changes in their lives. It’s really a blast to go out and work, to find people and to teach.

A couple of fun things from the week: I started to learn how to drive with Elder Clayton! We went to Walmart, because we had to buy some things for the mission, so while we were there, I practiced in the parking lot. I was driving for probably 20 minutes, and I only killed it like 6 times! I feel like that’s pretty good for my first time driving stick, right? (side note: that is something interesting about Argentina, there no parking lots. You basically just put your car wherever you want and then turn on your hazards, because everything is legal with hazard lights, right?) Still not driving in the streets, though. We’ll get there eventually.

Also, the world is pretty small! In our ward here, Rural, we have an Area Seventy named Elder Levrino (he was just named a seventy in the last conference in April). About two years ago he finished being the mission president of the Argentina Salta mission. I found that out, so this last Sunday in church I asked him if he knew Elder Victor Johnson, and he told me that he did, that he was one of his assistants! He said he was an awesome missionary, and that he remembers that Elder Johnson really like running. Sounds like a Johnson to me. :) But it was pretty cool to make that connection. Other small world connection, Presidente Perez has been to Orem! He went to Tucanos once! We were talking about Tucanos this week, it was a little weird, but cool at the same time. Presidente and Hermana Perez have two sons living in Provo right now (one is going to BYU), and before they were called as mission presidents, they made a month long trip to Utah to visit them and places in Utah. They told me one of their sons lives on the hill right across from Tucanos, and I told them that’s basically where I live! So that was cool. :)

Yesterday, the new mission secretary got here to be trained. His name is Elder Dillon, and he has a year in the mission. Elder Clayton will be leaving the office at the end of this transfer, so he’s training now. We are now six elders in the office, so it’s a little crazy, but it’s ok. It’s fun.

This gospel is true. I know that as we put the Lord first, as we do what He wants us to do, we are able to do so much more. The Lord can magnify our time, and he can magnify us. His power is infinite, and through Him, all is possible. As our Savior Jesus Christ instructs us so simply and powerfully in His Sermon on the Mount, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” “For your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” (Matthew 6:33,32; 3 Nephi13:33,32) Our loving Father in Heaven knows our needs. He knows our needs, spiritual, physical, emotional, mental. Above all, He knows what we need to be happy. And because He knows that, He asks us to do exactly what will bring us the most joy: exercise faith in Him, leave the things of the world behind, and follow Him. In doing this, we obtain joy only available through heavenly means, and our Father, who loves us, will add unto us all things we have need of. May we always follow the Savior, and never forget by whose power we receive all that we have!

Elder Meyers

Me and Elder Levrino--Area Seventy

Road tripping

Road tripping with Elder Clayton and Elder Carrion (emergency transfer)

Me and Elder Clayton road tripping

Me and Elder Carrion
Me, Elder Dillon, Elder Clayton, and Elder Maynard

Elder Clayton and Elder Llanos cooking in the pension

Lunchtime Selfie

Elder Tello reached a year in the mission, so we had a little party

Learning to drive a stick shift in the Walmart parking lot.

Elder Dillon, training to be the new secretary

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Week 5 Santa Fe Rural C/Oficina

Time is flying here in the office, it's crazy. We always have things to do, so it's just go, go, go all the time. It's pretty fun.

This week was traslados (transfers), so things were pretty busy. On Monday, we had a farewell lunch for all of the missionaries who were going home. Before that, to prepare, Elder Clayton and I went to buy ice cream for the week, since there were going to be various lunches and meetings, and Presidente Perez wanted to stock up. We bought 28 kilos (62 pounds) of ice cream! Jaja the face of the lady was priceless when we told her how much we wanted to buy. We had lunch with all of the missionaries going home in the mission home, along with the asistentes, us (the oficina), and Presidente and Hermana Perez. It was cool, especially since it was my first time in the mission home. It's in a private neighborhood well outside of Santa Fe that's pretty high end. It even has its own golf course! We're going to talk to Presidente Perez to see if one day for a special pday he could get us in to play golf for a little bit. :) After the lunch we all sat around talking for a while, signing journals and things like that. Hermana Perez asked me to sing for them as a farewell gift, so I did that too. It was a good day. Tuesday the new missionaries got here. There are only two this transfer, an elder from Utah and a hermana from Paraguay. We met them when they got to the mission office, and got to know them and talked to them for a while. They'll be great missionaries. That night we went out to dinner at a café with the new missionaries. Wednesday, we had the training meeting for the new missionaries, where they met their trainers and the leaders from the mission. That was my first time presenting all the financial rules of the mission, but luckily it was only two missionaries, so it wasn't a lot of pressure. We had lunch that day too. (I think I've gained more than a little bit of weight this week.) After that, we went back to the office and got everything prepared for Thursday which was Consejo de Líderes (Leadership Council).  Presidente Perez wanted us to give a presentation on the finances of the mission to all of the zone leaders, especially since there were five new zone leaders this transfer. We also were working like crazy to get things ready in the office, because the Area Accountant had told us that he was going to come earlier than expected to do a training with us, and he told us he was coming Thursday. So Thursday we went early in the morning to the mission home, gave our presentation, and then came straight back to the office, where the accountant met us. His name is Gonzalo Gomez Paz, and he's from Buenos Aires. I forgot to take a picture with him, sorry. But he was super cool, and he helped us out BIG TIME. I understand a lot of things a lot better now, and I have a much better grasp on my job as financiero. Not nearly as much uncertainty. He was with us all day, and when Presidente finished with his meeting with the zone leaders, he came and joined us, and we met for the rest of the day. I can't even begin to explain how helpful it was. Definitely a blessing for me. Yesterday we didn't have anything special, but we had a lot of work to do since we were a little behind with all of the things that happened this week. Today was definitely a long-waited pday, as we were very tired after a jam-packed week.

It has been a great experience to be so close to Presidente and Hermana Perez. They are amazing people, and their wisdom and spirituality help me in so many ways. I am amazed at how they take on all of the responsibilities of the mission, and I know that the Lord is helping them, because seeing all of the things that they have to do, especially Presidente Perez, I know that there's no possible way that he could accomplish so much without the help of the Lord. The Lord truly qualifies those who He calls.

One thing that has been super important for me this week has been reading the scriptures. It's so important to remember to read the scriptures every day, even when we are super busy and it seems like there is not time, if we make time for Him, He will make time for us. I know that as we put Him first in our lives, He will help us accomplish all of the things that we need to.

Have a great week!

Elder Meyers

Elder Blackmon, Me, Elder Thompson, and Elder Clayton on the street on pday

Waiting in line to serve the food to the missionaries during the mission conference

We bought 28 kilos (62 pounds) of Grido ice cream for the events this week, jaja, the lady looked at us like we were crazy when we told her we wanted 28 kilos

Me and Elder Clayton with Hno Italo, making the asado in the mission home

All the ice cream we bought

Selfie in front of the mission home
The mission home

In the mission home with Elder Blackmon, Elder Pearson, and the muertos (what we call the missionaries who are going home jaja)

Elder Maynard selfie with all of us in the mission home

At the mission home

Elder Hanson and I at the piano in the mission home

Asado cooking in the mission home

Me, Elder Jensen, and Elder Hanson

Me at the mission home

Santa Fe Mission home
Me getting ready to sing

Singing "Savior, Redeemer of my Soul" at the mission home

Getting ready to sing

Me and Elder Henrichsen (new missionary who just got here), Presidente Perez, and Elder Maynard
Dinner with the new missionaries
Selfie with Elder Clayton at dinner with the new missionaries (I'm in the background)
Santa Fe Mission office

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Week 4 Santa Fe Rural C/Oficinas

Another packed week! This week we had our two mission conferences to celebrate el primer aniversario de la Misión Argentina Santa Fe (the first anniversary of the Argentina Santa Fe Mission)! We spent a lot of time preparing and organizing the conferences, it all turned out great. The conferences were very uplifting and inspiring, and the lunches afterwards were super fun. The conferences were Monday and Wednesday, Monday for missionaries in the 5 zones in Santa Fe, and Wednesday for the 4 zones from Entre Rios. In both of the conferences, Presidente and Hermana Perez spoke, as well as the four asistentes. We also had testimonies from missionaries, and watched a slide show with pictures of all the converts since the beginning of the mission, as well as some videos of them bearing their testimonies. The mission choir turned out really well, singing Creo en Cristo (I Believe in Christ), and A Donde Me Mandes Iré (I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go). Presidente loved Creo en Cristo (I Believe in Christ), as that's his favorite hymn. He was smiling the whole time. :) I also sang Salvador, Redentor de Mi Alma (Savior, Redeemer of my Soul) as a prelude, and as an intermediate hymn, we all sang Called to Serve, which brought the Spirit in a powerful way. Afterwards, Presidente and Hermana Perez gave each of us a chocolate bar and a little booklet that we made that has a picture of every missionary in the mission right now (basically like a little yearbook), and then we headed into lunch. The cultural hall was all dedicated with pictures of missionaries and things that have happened in the mission, balloons, etc. It was awesome seeing all the missionaries again. There were three big cakes, and we lit the candles and sang Feliz Cumpleaños (Happy Birthday) to the mission- Monday, since it was the 4th of July, we also sang the Star Spangled Banner, and took a picture with all of the North American missionaries. Wednesday, after we sang, the missionaries who are going home this Monday (Monday is transfers) had to bite the cake. Lots of great memories and great moments. :)

Thursday, we had a giant group of missionaries who had tramites (mission business) in Rosario for DNI (our legal ID in Argentina), almost 40, so we rented two big vans and all went to Rosario together. We were there almost the whole day, but that was fun to get to know another part of Argentina. Rosario is a lot bigger than Santa Fe, so it was cool to spend some time there.

As far as work in the office goes, we still have a lot on our plates, but we continue to organize, file, and register everything, and we're working closely with Presidente and Hermana Perez to make sure everything is done correctly. It has been a great blessing so far being in the office, to be able to get to know Presidente and Hermana Perez better. They are incredible people, who are full of faith and confidence in the Lord, and who love everyone unconditionally. They are amazing examples for me, and I hope someday I can be more like them.

Something from the conferences this week that struck me were some questions that Elder Maynard asked in his talk. He invited us to ponder each of the following questions in our studies:
  • How can we invite the Spirit to be present with us all day, every day? 
  • What am I doing right now to accomplish that? 
  • How can I invite the Spirit more in my life, and what do I need to change to do that?
Along with that was an example that Elder Robles gave in his talk. He showed us a monkey trap that he had made out of paper-mache, and he had put a banana inside. He then had Elder Blackmon come and try to take the banana out, but he couldn't take out his had while he had the banana in his hand. It's an example lots of us have seen before, but it is just as instructive every time. Elder Robles asked us, what are our bananas in the mission, or even more broadly, what are our bananas in our lives? What are we holding on to that is keeping us from progressing, keeping us from being the missionary (or student, or parent, or friend, or disciple) that we want to be? Each of these questions helped me a lot to really think about what I am doing with my time, the choices I am making, and what I can do to change and be better. As President Monson taught us in the last conference, "Our goal is to obtain celestial glory, and the choices we make, in large part, determine whether or not we reach that goal." The choice is ours, all we have to do is continually re-evaluate and re-examine our lives, so that we can continually improve the choices we make and recommit ourselves to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.
I love you all! Have a fantastic week full of great choices that bring the Spirit!

Elder Meyers

Presidente and Hermana Perez lighting the cakes for the 1st anniversary celebration
All of the missionaries from the United States in the conference on the 4th of July

Lunch was pollo relleno (stuffed chicken, with sauces, chesse, ham, etc...) and garlic mashed potatoes, along with a salad beforehand, and ice cream and cake

Elder Gomez, Elder Fajardo, and me (Elder Gomez was my DL in Nogoya and Elder Fajardo was my MTC companion)

Me and Elder Marquez (Elder Marquez was my companion in Nogoya)

Me, Elder Gonzalez, Elder Marquez, and Elder Rocha (Elder Gonzalez and Elder Rocha were my ZL's in the Parana Sur Zone)

Elder Garibay, me, Elder Fajardo, and Elder Jaramillo (Our MTC district)

Happy 4th of July with Elder Thompson, Elder Blackmon, and me

Me, Elder Ramos, Elder Blackmon, and Elder Clayton with the cakes

Elder Maynard with his America socks and tie, and Elder Blackmon's little flag

A picture of Presidente Perez now and when he was a young missionary

Picture with a bunch of Elders from Entre Rios

Happy 1st Birthday Argentina Santa Fe Mission!
A bunch of missionaries in the office after the celebration.  Elder Hanson (5th from the right) has completed his mission and is heading home.  His parents were here to pick him up and took this picture.

Me, Elder Huerta (my first companion), and Elder

                            Picture of all the missionaries during lunch in a capilla in Rosario