Well, this week was a lot calmer than the last one. I´m not sure if there is even anything exciting to write about. I´ll probably just end this letter right now...
The biggest event of the week was the mission tour with Elder Foster (of the 70). President was down south from Sunday until Wednesday with Elder Foster. The office is a lot calmer when President is in the south. Even though he is never in the office, he calls several times a day to have us do stuff; but when he´s in the south he doesn´t as much. But it also makes my job hard because President has to sign all the contracts, and I had four contracts ready to sign on Monday. So I had to tell all the housing agencies that ¨el señor Gulbrandsen¨ was out of town and that he would be back on Thursday. But he didn´t have any time to sign contracts Thursday or Friday so I had to explain once again that we would have to wait.
Wednesday President got into the airport around 7:30 pm, so we had to leave around 7 to get there on time to pick him and Elder Foster up. At about 7:15 we were at the gas station filling up the car when President called to tell us his plane had landed and now they were just waiting for baggage. Uh-Oh, we still had to drive to the airport! Fortunately my companion Elder Nielsen is good at driving really fast on the freeway. Unfortunately, I was sitting in the passenger seat. It took a lot of effort to not scream out of fright, he was driving so close behind the other cars at such a high speed. But we got there safely and so did Elder Kelly in the other car. President called right as we pulled into the airport to ask where we were. President drove his car and took the Fosters home, so we missionaries drove home by ourselves; no chance to chouffer a seventy.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that we got a new car! Our minivan was way beat up and president wanted a nice new car for the mission tour. So the area offices delivered us a two month old 2011 minivan. It is way nice, lots of sweet technology, really shiny, easy fold down chairs; the only problem is that it is a stick shift. And I don´t know how to drive stick shift. President was actually kind of mad when he found out, he doesn´t want a stick shift since lots of Americans don´t know how to drive one (like me!). But almost all of the cars in Argentina are stick shift so the area offices say there isn´t much chance of us getting an automatic any time soon. So it looks like I won´t be driving a whole lot any more. I should have learned to drive a stick when I had the chance, Rachel was going to teach me....
Thursday the conference was in capital so we stayed in the offices and worked. Pretty uneventful. But on Friday the conference was in our chapel and we went to be part of it. It was a really good conference. Elder Foster is learning to speak spanish, but he gets his point across well enough. He started by dividing us into four groups, one group was stake presidents, one group mission presidents, one group missionaries, and one group members. He then talked about a problem we have in Argentina and it seems like world wide. Using a specific stakes numbers: in 2005 there were 497 people attending sacrament meeting. In 2010 there were 452. So he turned to the stake presidents: ¨What happened? Why did you lose 43 members?¨ He then said in those five years there were 343 baptisms; so he turned to the mission presidents, ¨What happened? Why are none of those baptisms attending church?¨ He asked each group who is to blame for the problem, and each group blamed a different group. So then we counseled together about how to fix it. It was really interesting. Elder Foster didn´t give us a direct solution, he just said we need to work more with the members and help them do missionary work and coordinate our efforts together.
The ward were I´m at is amazing. I´ve never seen a ward (branch) in Argentina were the members work so much. The elders quorum president called us to ask the address of the man who got baptized last week so that he could assign home teachers. That never would have happened in any of my other areas. So we are doing pretty good here. The majority of the recent baptisms go to church every week. And the members help us a lot as we look for more people to baptize. This week we have been looking hard for new people to teach, and we found a few. Hopefully they will progress in their testimony and love for the savior.
That was about it for the week. Now we are here writing the family after attempting to go fishing. I need some more fishing practice before we go to one of the big rivers in Argentina to get some big catches.
Hope everyone has a great week. Talk to you next time!
hasta luego baby,
It was really bright.
I was getting ready to go body surfing...
Me, Elder Nielsen (in the chair), Elder Johnson (left), Elder Unrau (back)
Ward activity. Open house in the church.
This is what happens when you´ve been in the offices for too long...
An investigator gave me this shirt as a present when I left Loma Hermosa.
Christmas phone call home. I figured this would be the closest we have gotten to a family picture in the last four years.
Baptism of Miguel (this was December 23)
This is me and Elder Carroll bowling. Yeah, we´re that cool.
That´s Elder Stronks bowling. Pretty legit.