Monday, November 29, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Having lived outside of the United States, especially outside of Irvine, Ca, I have come to be thankful for a lot of things we take for granted in the States. Among many, the main three are: my house, my religion, and my family.
1. My house. I have seen all sorts of houses here. Most of them are just cement and brick. Many of them are literally smaller than my front room. They share a kitchen and a bathroom with other ´houses´ that are close by. The people here don´t have the ability to go to their room to be alone, to have a nice table where they eat, couches are almost non-existent, a lot of people don´t even have chairs, just stools. There are also people who don´t even have that much, all they have is the clothes on their back. It is so hard to walk by people sleeping on the street and not just want to cry. To have my own bedroom with my own bed, a fridge, a kitchen, a couch, a tv, a computer, carpet. All of these things I am so grateful for.
2. My religion. There are so many people who don´t know why they are on the earth. Who have no purpose, no foundation. When something bad happens in their live they have no where to turn for comfort or guidance. That is why we have the gospel. That is why we have Christ. So that no matter what happens we know who we are and we know why we are here. It gives meaning to live and a reason to get going enough when life is tough, which it always is.
3. My family. There are tons of broken families here. Girls that got pregnant as teenagers, dads who left, kids who live on the street. The strength and protection that a family gives is invaluable. To have parents who love me and will do anything for me. Siblings that care about me and are always available to give advice or hang out with. It is a great blessing to have a strong large family that loves eachother. Even though there will be at least one more nephew that I don´t know when I get back, I love him too. Though there will actually be at least one more neice/nephew, because Rachel is pregnant.
Have a great Thanksgiving everyone. I love you all. May God be with you till we meet again.
Les quiero mucho,
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
Monday of the past week was ¨Day of the Dead¨ which sounds like it would be about ghosts or something but it is actually about paying respect to dead relatives. The tradition is that the spirits of the dead come back and visit the family members, and that this is the only day of the year that they can leave the world of the dead. The families make food that the dead person liked and leave it for them to eat. There was one investigator that was really sad because she forgot to make the food; but we explained to her that it was just a tradition and that the spirits of our loved ones can visit us whenever we need them. She was a lot happier afterwards.
On Friday my companion had to go to paperwork. He´s been here a year and a half and still doesn´t his DNI, the thing he needs to live here legally. Afterwards we went to Florida Street and ate at California Burrito Company. It was pretty good, a nice american burrito; kind of like Chipotle but not as big or as good. Man, if there is one thing I miss here it is Mexican food. The same day (about an hour later) we ate lunch with the Bishop and our district leader came and made tacos. Since he is from Mexico they were ¨real¨ tacos; but they were exactly the same as the ones us Americans made a week ago. The only difference was that he made some special salsa that was pretty good. It was a nice Mexican food filled day.
There isn´t much else this week. The work is moving on. Sometimes I wish it would move a little faster, but it takes time for people to change their lives. Hay que tener paciencia. Sorry for the not too exciting letter. Hope everyone has a great week.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Well, this was by far the most interesting week on the mission so far. On Monday night we went to the villa to visit some people and there were cops in full body gear all over the place. We were in one house teaching a lesson and five of them walked in. I was worried they were going to search us (not that we have anything, just that it would waste a lot of our time) but they just wanted to use the bathroom. Then we went to a family home evening with an investigator family at a member family´s house. But when we got to the member´s house there were police blocking the entrance to the manzana (alleyway) where they lived. Apparently they arrived at about 2 in the afternoon and started a drug search of all the houses in that manzana. They didn´t leave until about 9 at night and during that time no one was allowed to leave or enter the manzana. They ruined our plans.
Tuesday was fairly normal, except that the villa was really quiet and empty. There weren´t the normal drug dealers and there wasn´t music blaring in the street. It felt entirely different after the whole drug bust thing.
Wednesday was the Argentina National Census. In Argentina it is pretty different from the states. Instead of filling out a form and sending it in or whatever we do, Argentina shuts down the country for a day. No stores were open, there was no school, everyone had to stay home and wait for the census workers to arrive. The census workers went to every door in the country and got the information they needed. So we had to stay home all day. It was so boring! There is only so many times you can play monopoly in one day without going crazy. But I was counted in the Argentina National Census, which is pretty cool. I´ll be on the stats for ten years until they do it again.
Also on Wednesday the ex-president of Argentina died of a heart attack (I´m not sure if he got counted in the census before he died or not). He was the president before the current president, and the current president is his wife. I guess there are the Clinton couple of Argentina. So everyone has been watching the funeral services for the past few days.
Thursday we had a member take to a restaraunt for lunch (which has never happened before). I got pizza, which was a mistake. Argentine pizza isn´t that great, they cover it in way too much cheese. I wouldn´t mind not eating pizza again for the next two years, but I know that won´t happen.
When we went to the villa on Thursday there were a bunch of people walking down the street right outside the villa. We asked some members and it seemed to be some sort of protest connected with the ex-president´s death. A lot of people went to the funeral services so the villa was kind of empty and we were advised to stay away for a few days until things got back to normal.
On Friday the ward had an activity at the church were the members made food from their native countries. There was food from Peru, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, China, and the United States. We were asked to make food from the states so we made tacos. Everyone made fun of us for making "fake tacos" but they all liked the tacos. They don´t know what real tacos are here anyway so what do they know. And the best part was that members don´t let missionaries pay for things, even when we try to. (I think it was five pesos for a dish) So I got some free food from Peru, Paraguay, and Bolivia; it was all pretty good.
On Saturday and Sunday Elder Ludwig and I took turns not feeling good, and the members were still saying we should stay away from the villa, so we didn´t do a whole lot. We had lunch on Saturday in the villa and we walked through without any problem. From what the members were saying I thought it was some sort of disaster in there; they just worry too much about us. It seems fine. But we have stayed away anyway just in case.
So that was my week. There wasn´t a single normal day during it. Of course normal on the mission is still crazy. We didn´t get to talk to a whole lot of our investigators. I hope they are all still doing well. Hope everyone has a great week! Stay safe, work hard, have fun, read your scriptures, pray, and go to church. That´s my best advice.