Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I'm very optimisitc about my last 6 months, which will start on Friday.

Hola Familia!
How are yall doin? Thanks for writing to me again this week. It’s really great to hear from you. I must say that I’m glad that Biff and Kailey are back together again. Will animals be included in the resurrection, or have they already fulfilled the measure of their creation? I guess we’ll find out in the millennium.
Anyway, we’ve been having some interesting experiences. I cant believe I forgot to tell you last week, but on Sunday, we were in a bus and my comp contacted a family in front of us. I couldn’t hear it very well, so the next thing I knew, he told me that we were going to church again! We ended up in an evangelist church. It was quite the experience, but pretty low key. It wasn’t one of those churches where people fall down and yell and stuff, but it was still quite interesting. Very different. It was not the true church of Jesus Christ.
We went to Paran for zone conference and had a great time. It was kind of stressful, but great to see a bunch of friends from around the mission. Half of the mish was there. It continues to amaze me how much the mission can change. Almost every conference something new is presented to us and it changes the way we work and makes us more efficient and stuff like that. Its great.
Yesterday we set a date in the registro civil for analia y Pablo. They are gonna get married! The date is for the end of February though, so its not likely that I will be here, unfortunately. Its ok though, I’m so excited for them. Pablo is doubting a little bit, but we have time to work with him. The Bejarano family went to Buenos Aires to have that operation that I would you about last week. They need prayers.
I also bought my Christmas present today! I got the suit for 300 pesos and got a 25 peso tie to go with it. Ill send pictures as soon as I can find a computer that will accept my camera. Thanks mom and dad! I now have a llama suit! It just makes me feel closer to Elder Layton. Im sure hes seeing the llamas that become suits in Argentina There aren’t very many llamas here, just cows and birds.
Quick story. We have a pair of falcons that have a nest on the top of our building and are very protective. Its dangerous to go on the roof, and they attack us every once in a while when we stick our hands out the windows. Last night, I walked into my room and opened the curtain a little bit and was startled to find one perched on my window sill almost in the room (because the window was opened). Anyway, I got the other guys and we took pictures and stuff, then I got really close with out her knowing because the curtain was in the way, and another elder took a picture. Ill send it to you some day. It is great.
Other than that, things are just going great. I’m learning a lot from my comp right now and am very optimistic about my last 6 months, which will start on Friday. This is a big milestone, and it makes me want to work harder.
I am convinced and am sure that this is the one true church of Jesus Christ, restored through a prophet, containing all the true points of doctrine that carry us to salvation.
Love ya lots.
Elder Rau

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The River is Dropping

12/9/09
Hola Familia!
Great to hear from you all this week. I hope you are enjoying the cold, because its certainly the opposite here. It’s quite toasty.
Anyway, good news from the river front. Its dropped below 15 meters and continues to drop. Some members are getting back into their houses, but now the clean up starts. It’s gonna take quite a while to get everything cleaned up. The river brought a lot of mud and bugs and snakes and things, so there will be lots to do in the coming weeks. I talked to a red cross guy the other day and said that they were planning on housing people in the schools for another four months, but I think that was like a worst case scenario thing. I think everyone has pretty well repented and remembered God in their time of need. Despite all the forecast of rain, there hasn’t been a drop all week. Last night we walked by a catholic church, and being the day of the virgin, there were about a thousand people outside, and I think I heard them praying for the river to go down or something like that.
I guess you could say that Christmas season is in full swing here. It’s not got too much to do with how we celebrate back there, but it’s cool in its own way. It’s a lot more similar to the fourth of July, with fireworks and parties and certain drinks that would be unwise to partake of. This year will be different for us though. Last year we got to go and spend the night with members, until one in the morning, but this year we have a normal schedule. But once 12:00 hits there will be more noise than on a battlefield due to the fireworks, so we will more than likely just keep the lights off and watch the fireworks from our tenth story window. I am very excited about that. There are no regulations on fireworks here, so its basically anything goes. It's gonna be sweet.
To clarify things that I must not have explained correctly, my comp is from Utah and is also a zone leader. When you move up to zone leader you get “trained” again, so I guess I am training him. We went to mission council last week and were instructed on the vision of the mission by the assistants and of course, the man behind it all, Presidente Villalba. He taught us why we have the priesthood and how we can be agents unto ourselves and be anxiously engaged in a good cause. Lots of doctrine instead of the “application” or list of things to do.
The investigators are doing great. One family is receiving an abundance of trials and blessings. They are going to receive a ton of bricks and materials from the government to finish their house, and they won like 700 pesos in the lottery, but the mom is hospitalized with an aneurysm (coagulated blood in her brain) and the dad is also having some medical problems. It’s great to see how the lord keeps them afloat. This is the same family that the dad got up in district conference about two months ago and gave his testimony. They have so much faith.
We have zone conference coming up this week, so I will get to go back and see my first area. Half of the mission will be there, so I will see quite a few friends. I hope to have a few minutes to drop by some people out there. There are now Hermanas in the area.
I think that’s it from me this week. I am learning a lot about things that are going to help me later in life, like working efficiently under pressure and stuff like that. It’s not easy to be a zone leader. It would be nice to move into the emeritus ZL status, but I guess I have something to learn here. I will go and do I guess…
Anyway, I love you all a whole bunch and look forward to talking to mom and dad in a few weeks. The church is true, of that I’m sure.
Elder Rau

p.s. i can't send fotos due to the lameness of the computer, so maybe next week...sorry...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

With the Lord's Help, We Will Have Success

11-24-09
Hola Familia,
Once again, I forgot to tell y'all that it was transfers this week, so here I am writing on Tuesday. Thanks mom and dad for making up for my lack of preparation.

I cant believe elder Mckibben, I mean, Jesse, is home! Bienvenidos! I wonder if now he will read the blog and stuff, but I'm sure he's got plenty to do. How is the blog going anyway, do people look at it or have I become as forgotten as the BYU baseball team? I must admit I have been pretty bad at writing real letters too. To be honest, I cant remember the last letter I wrote whatever, I'll be home in like 7 months, so I'll just ask forgiveness when I get home

Well, the baptism of Ariel Duarte when great! We started late, but that is to be expected. It rained that entire day until right after the baptism, then the sun kind of came out. His dad came to the baptism and really enjoyed it. I wish I could send you the pictures, but I kind of forgot the cable for my camera, so maybe next week It really was a great experience though. One of the best 10 year olds I have ever seen. Future missionary.

Speaking of all that rain, we have had so much of it that the river has grown about 14 meters, which is almost 50 feet. The whole area close to the river is flooded and many people are living in the schools and other large covered areas. Its supposed to keep raining, and the dam just up stream cant hold the amount of water that is coming down, so they are slowly letting the water out, regulating it I guess, until all the people can get evacuated. We went down yesterday and helped some people move. We were thinking about getting wet and helping some other people, but I got a call from the assistants that said that president said don't do anything stupid or dangerous, and seeing as the power lines were precarious, we didn't get in the water. They cut the power shortly there after. I guess this is the closest I'm going to get to a natural disaster in my mission.

By the way, my new comp is named Elder Crapono -no joke -but you don't pronounce it the way its spelled. Say the a as in way. He's a big ol boy from Utah I think, and should be getting here today or tomorrow early. Well see. I was hoping to see my MTC comp come here, but he is down in Pergamino as zone leader and will see him on Friday in the mission counsel meeting. Either way, we are gonna have a killer transfer. This transfer the zone had 9 baptisms, but I am planning 11 for our area alone if everything goes well. Its gonna be sweet!
Anyway, I can't really think of anything else. Elder Kirk finished his mission well and is now touring the mission with his family. I'm very grateful for having served with him. I'm kind of worried about being in charge of the zone, but with the Lords help, we will have success in bringing people to Him.
I love you all a whole lot and can't wait to hear from you next week! And don't forget, the Church IS true!
Elder Rau

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Know this Church is True, There's No Way That its Not!

Hola Familia!
Another great week here in Argentina. Glad to hear that things are going great over there. I can’t believe that Elder Mckibben is about to turn back into Jesse! With him coming home and my comp about to go home too, I have come to the realization that one day in the future, my mission will end, but luckily, I can’t see it happening, so maybe I’ll be able to convince myself that it won’t happen and I’ll just stay here. But anyway, enough with the trunky talk.
We really did have a great week. Friday, we went to Rosario and assisted the mission counsel. It’s a meeting with all the zone leaders in the mission. We have to travel the farthest. We got on a bus at about midnight, got to Rosario at about 6:30, then got back on the colectivo at 5 and were home after midnight again. 14 hours on a bus in one day is quite a bit, but definitely worth it. I have really been stressing because I don’t have any ideas for the zone. I’m not exactly the most creative person in the whole world, so it’s really hard, but there was a time for all the companionships to talk about what was working for them. And as I wrote down their ideas, I was able to formulate my own, or rather, I had some help applying them to the needs of our zone. It was a very spiritual meeting. I feel a little bit more capable to fill this slot that I’m in.
I know that this church is true, there is no way it’s not. On Sunday I asked a little ten year old to pray about the 21st as his baptismal date. Yesterday he came up to me and said, Rau! I asked God...and he said yes! He then went on to explain that when he asked God if he was in this church, he felt something inside him that was hard to explain, he almost couldn’t breathe, but in a good way, then he asked Him if He was in another church when he asked, he said he didn’t feel anything! This kid is such a stud! He came into the room with a toy bow and arrow one time and said, look, I’m Nefi! His mom recently got baptized and his dad is the one that was kind of anti for a while but had accepted a baptismal date. He isn’t progressing as well as before, but he’s still there. Anyway, we are going to finish that family before I leave here.
We barely fell short of the standards last week, so we wanted to blow them out of the water this week, and so far we are doing pretty well. We almost have it already after Monday and Tuesday. We are doing pretty good here. There is a lot of improvement in the zone too. We are getting ready for some big stuff. I’m pretty sure I got sent to the promised land of the mission. We are gonna blow this place up!
Anyway, that it for this week. I love you all a ton and look forward to hearing from you next week.
I know that eternas pueden ser las familias, en el eterno plan...
Love ya!
Elder Rau

p.s. Thanks so much for the packages!! I got a dear elder from Halloween and an envelope one from mom! They were way cool. The dearelder one had a little tube of goo with an alien in it...in my own defense, it looked a lot like something you would eat, but as it turns out, it was a flubber-like substance that you play with.... as I took a bite out of it, I thought that they could do a better job with the flavor...it tasted like plastic...
That’s right, I accidentally ate a toy...it really did look a lot like jello though... maybe they should label stuff like that a little better...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A dead Armidillo

4 kilos of icecream! Happy Birthday Elder Joglar!

ELDER BEDNAR IS COMING!!!

10/28/09
Hola Familia!
It was great to hear from yall again this week. I hadn’t realized that you had stopped giving me updates of the cougars, which was probably a good thing according to what my comps family told him....darn Christians from Texas... But anyway, that’s not that important.
We had a great week here. Zone conference was pretty cool. Since we are a fairly secluded and far spread zone, it was just our zone. (normally, zone conference has 2 or 3 zones together). It was cool though. As always, if was very spiritual and gave us a boost to keep working hard. We gave our small portion and it turned out pretty well. It was about commitments and we all learned some valuable stuff, so I hope we can improve with that. The only other really big thing announced in zone conference is that we are going to have a visitor named David Bednar in November or December. I guess he’s a pretty good speaker, so I guess Im excited...I mean... ELDER BEDNAR IS COMING!!! Im way excited. I guess there is going to be a time for questions and I think we can ask him pretty much anything. What should I ask him? I have alot of questions and all, but I dont know if its really worth the time of an apostle and 200 other missionaries. It would be one big zone conference with the whole mission. That will be especially cool because Its been about a year since Ive seen a few elders from my MTC district. But anyway, that will be cool.
One of our investigators cooked lunch for us. That was also very cool. He always cooks for religious get togethers because he doesn’t go to any church, but is catholic. He feels a void inside him that no church has been able to fill as of yet. His oldest son got baptized a year ago and his wife got baptized about 3 weeks ago (the day before I got here). He has seen the change in them, and is beginning to change himself. My comp tells me that a month ago he was very anti and didnt even want to be in the same room as the missionaries, but after a year of hard work, Pablo is going to end up baptizing his whole family. We had a killer lesson last night that was three or four days in preparation about the atonement. Directly about how peace comes through it. Peace has to do with repentance, which is only possible through Jesus Christ. Long story short, he accepted a baptismal date in three weeks without hesitation. Pretty sweet huh. We will more than likely baptize his 10 year old son and a 10 year old granddaughter that day because his other daughter isnt married with her current partner, which just means they are gonna have to get married first, no big deal, but they are progressing very well.
We also had district conference, because we live in a district. Presidente Villalba just stayed here all weekend and did all his business. He reorganized the district presidency and gave a really great talk. It was interesting to see him interact with the members. Hes a little different. Way more down to earth and normal. Maybe its just because I have only ever seen him in zone conferences and stuff... But another cool thing happened. While his wife was giving a talk in the general session, one of our investigators got up and sat next to president on the stand. We were in the choir seats, so we had now way of controlling what was going on. He talked to president for a bit, then waited quietly for the hermana to finish. President then got up and said that they were going to make an excepcion and gave him about three minutes to bear his testimony. I just about died. He used to be evangelical, so that had me worried a little. (Before I continue, i have to tell you that there was a storm Friday night that was basically a hurricane. Winds reached 120 kmh and tore many houses apart. If you remember me explaining my old area, all of the houses are made out of wood and sheet metal on the roofs or walls. Many many people lost parts of their homes that weekend.) So he began to explain his gratitude to God for his family and everything. His house is made out of chapa (that wavy metal stuff) and during the storm, they thought they were going to lose everything, but then he said that he stood up and said a prayer with his family (his kids got baptized a few months ago) and he felt a huge peace come into his home and heart. He then went on to Bbear a sweet testimony about the church and the book of Mormon. This came out of nowhere! He wasnt even progressing, but now hes like top priority! The only thing is that he cant get married because he has to get divorced first...that takes a long time down here. But it doesn’t matter, because now he’s got the motivation. We are content. We went to go see him and the house was fine. He is building a house out of bricks next door to his existing house, and the crazy part is that one of those walls fell down and got destroyed completely. How does that work? Solid brick walls are thrown down, but some wood and nails stand strong... sounds like a miracle to me.
Anyway, I think thats about it for the week. Im gonna try and send some pics, but for now, know that I love you all so much and love hearing from you every week.
The church is true. I have no doubt of that.
Con amor,
Elder Rau

p.s. My comp was in the same zone or district as elder McKibben in the MTC.
p.s.s. Ari, I got the package and it was awesome! Thanks so much for the pictures. Everyone, and I mean everyone I show pictures to says that cami is the cuttest little girl in the whole world.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Church of Jesus Christ Does Exisist, and We are Members of It - Cool!

10/21/09
Hola Familia,
Another week from between the rivers. It’s been a great week, not exactly what I’m used to, but still great. Life is different as a zone leader. There is a lot more stuff to do and a lot more opportunity to give up some personal things to help someone else. That’s just a nice way to say that I don’t have time to do things that I normally had time to do, but that’s ok. I think I will learn quickly how to brush my teeth in the dark and stuff like that. It’s all worth it though. Leadership helps me learn so much.
Monday/Tuesday I went on divisions with a district leader in my old area of Rural, here in the city. That was very fun. They are having trouble working with the ward, so I took advantage of that and we went around and visited members, shared scriptures, asked for references and the like. We also had some plans fall through, which means we had time to go visit some old investigators. One of which should now be getting baptized in a few weeks! When I left, Alberto had a baptismal date, but never made it. He had a very complicated work schedule, and after a million failed attempts to find him, the missionaries stopped going by and he kind of got forgotten about. It’s sad, but that’s just kind of how it happens. The good news is that he now has a more stable job with a more predictable schedule. He also never stopped reading the book of Mormon and had the word of wisdom pamphlet (is that what you call it?...pamphlet?) out on his table next to his cigarettes ha-ha. He’s so cool though and was very pleased to see us. I was surprised how many people recognized me. A lot has happened in the last 6 months though. The attendance has cut in half, but there are more members with temple recommends, so I guess it’s good and bad.
We have district conference (we are in a district) and presidente Villalba will be coming with both of his counselors, so I’m pretty excited for that, but that also means that we have zone conference in two days and we have to give a 40 minute part of it, so that’s got me kind of nervous. We have it pretty well planned out, we just need more specifics and stuff. It’s going to be about commitments.
My area is called Concordia, in the city of Concordia. It is very big. I’ve gotten used to the smaller areas, so I’m walking a lot now. It kind of feels unproductive, but I guess that’s just how it is. I am going to fix it by really focusing on talking with everyone in the street, which is something that, for one reason or another, can always improve. We have downtown and a rundown part of town, so we got everything. Not sure if I’ve told you yet, but we live on the 10th floor of our building and have a great view of the church, which is right across the street. It’s amazing! We have a grocery store a block away and anything else we need. It’s perfect. You already know about the air-conditioning! It’s nice. My comp is from Utah and we live with an argentine (from Mar del Plata in the south of the province of Buenos Aires) and a chileno from Santiago I think. They are way funny. My comp is awesome. I see no problems in the future, so we can just focus on our area and keeping the zone happy and functioning. I’m very optimistic about this transfer.
Well, thanks for the conference talks and for all your love and support. I hope things are going well for everyone in Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington and wherever else yall live. Know that I love you guys a ton, and like dad said the other week, I CAN wait to come home, but it’s gonna be pretty cool when that day comes. I love being here and doing what I’m doing. I know that this is the great and marvelous work that has been mentioned in not just the doctrine and covenants, and that the church of Jesus Christ does exist, and we are members of it. Cool huh!
Ok, love you!
Elder Rau

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

TRANSFERED!

Thanks for writing early this week. I totally forgot to tell you that we had transfers this week. That would be the reason I am writing today, Tuesday.
I guess Ill start with transfers...I'M GOING BACK TO ENTRE RIOS! I will return to the city of Concordia in the area of Concordia. My new comp is Elder Kirk, and we are the zone leaders. Im expecting to learn alot from Kirk. He was very close to being called as assistant, so that means he is responsible and understands his calling. He was also compaero menor of a legendary companionship. The transfer before I got here, he was in a little pueblo called Santa Elena and he and his comp`(who did become assistant but has since returned home) baptised 15 in one transfer. Its the highest one transfer in the history of the mission, as far as I know. No body has made it past 12 or 13 since. This is also his last transfer, so we will be working very hard I'm sure. Elder Herold is in that zone right now but is getting transfered to another area, not sure where. I will probably have the opportunity to travel to areas like Federal and Gualeguaych, which are little pueblos in the campo. The pinch there is awesome!!! It has air conditioning! Its also on the tenth floor and you can see Uruguay from the living room! I am very excited, yet humbled at the same time. Its not easy to be a zone leader, but I know that this call comes from the Lord, so I don't have to worry too much.
Anyway, we had another great week. We fell short of the mission standards by a few dates, but three people were baptised. The two girls of that family that I have talked about quite a bit, and a 13 year old that doesn't live with his dad, but will now be going to church with his dad. I'm not entirely sure that his mom knows that he got baptised, but by next week he will be confirmed and the deal is done! Haha. Its an interesting situation, but I was reminded of how many people in the book of Mormon were baptised in secret. I felt kind of like Alma! The best part is that elder Taylor got wet, and the abuelo of the girls also got into the water. Unfortunately, the grandpa didn't have the strength to put the girls all the way under the water, so another elder that was already wet got back in and helped him out. It was a cool experience. I got to confirm Rocio memeber of the church. other kids got baptised that day too, which made things kind of crazy, but the spirit was still strong. I do like the smaller, simpler services more though. It was great though. A good way too end my time in Yapey.
I am sad to leave though, this area is about ready to explode. I'm positive that next transfer will be full of success and miracles. The ward is excited and ready to work, we have a new elders quorum presidente and we have a ton of really good investigators. I feel good about what I have done here.
Funny story from the week, my comp started making fun of me for the natey wave... yes... I still do it and cant explain why. I guess that's just how I scratch my nose, alright!
I cant really remember anything else that happened this week. I was fairly occupied with the baptism and stuff. So I guess Ill just end it here and tell you all that I love you very much and look forward to hearing from you again next week.
I Know that the church is true!
Elder Rau

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Know That this Church is the True One

9/23/09
Hola Familia!
How are you all doing? I'm doing great! We had a great week. The last 7 days have been pretty crazy busy. Such is the life of a missionary and its the best. No matter what we do to plan a day, something major always happens and we have to improvise. But yeah, I'm still healthy and growing spiritually and physically, unfortunately not any taller...which means the last 6 months of my mission will be critical for working out. That's been something Ive thought about recently. The last 6 months. I was thinking about all the things I was gonna do and the attitudes I was gonna make myself have and I got really excited for it. Then yesterday, we had interviews... My interview was rather short, but presidents counsel was do what we have to do today... then it all made sense. I was gonna procrastinate making all of the changes I wanted to make for another three months...but now I think I'm just gonna start a little earlier...maybe tomorrow...haha, I mean....yesterday.
Speaking of yesterday, after zone conference, the entire zone stayed in our pinch for p-day, which is today, but we did a big choque de fuerza in the three areas. I had three companionship's in my area, which means we pretty much got the standards yesterday... Lets just say, I didn't get out worked in my area. I went with a stud named Elder States. He was comps last transfer with my mtc comp. I'm pretty sure we are gonna be comps next transfer though...Ive already received the revelation. But yeah, today was pretty sweet. It consisted of educational scripture games and other things that didn't have much to do with the scriptures or anything but it was fun. We have a platform in our garage that is about 8 feet up, so we did trust falls...where everyone has to catch someone that falls backwards off the thing. It was fun...
We just moved into spring here and its rainy and cold one day and quite hot another. Summer is on its way and I hope I'm out of Santa Fe. It gets up to like 45 Celsius, plus humidity. No thanks....
Well, the rama is still open for now. It could get closed any time though. I asked president about it and he said that if it belongs to recreo, those elders have to work it, which means the few investigators we have will probably fall off the charts because they won't get very much attention. I tried to explain that we can basically walk to them and recreo has to ride in a bus for about 15 minutes to get there, but I guess he knows best, and we will be able to focus on yapey a little bit better.
We continue to teach families. We should have a big baptism on the 10. The last Saturday of the transfer and almost for sure in yapey. We have 10 for that day right now. I see 3 making it almost for sure, due to current progress. We have one kid that is a really good goalie, so good that he is playing in a junior league for a pro team, which is hard to do because all of the kids want to do it. They actually recruited him, the problem is him making it to our church. He can go earlier to a sacrament meeting, but that would be it. The thing is he is soooo prepared! His answers to our questions frequently leave me speechless. The only thing I can say is...that's exactly right! His two brothers came to church last week and the abuela promised to come this week, which means I think we will be getting the standards this week. We have been so close every week so far, but the big problem is bringing to church. The theme for district meeting next week is bringing people to church...that will be nice.
Not sure if you have heard, but the new bible came out. That is, the SUD edition of the Reina Valera version of the Bible. It's the most correct bible in Spanish! I still don't have one, but I'm trying to order a 9 peso hard cover. I'm gonna wait for a bit to get the nice one... maybe they will come out with a quad in Spanish! That would be way cool. This is big stuff for the Spanish speaking members. They will now be able to understand the plain and precious truths lost with out having to turn back and forth from the triple to the bible. Its pretty exciting.
The longer I am in the mission, the more convinced I am of how close the second coming is. So with that in mind, I love you all a ton and want you to keep doing the stuff we need to do to stay together forever...k? Ok, love you all so much, and I know that this church is the true one.
Elder Rau

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Everyone Talks About the Weather...

9/1/09
Hola Familia!
How are you all doing? I totally forgot to tell you all last week that this week is transfers and that I will be writing on Tuesday...which is today...sorry! Needless to say, I didn’t get anything from anyone... it’s a sad day in Argentina...just kiddin, every day is a happy day here, especially with a relief from the heat. It has been close to 37 c and humid here for the last week. What a welcome for my new comp... Yesterday it rained and hailed a little and has cooled off for now. Another random thing about Argentina, you can start a conversation with literally anyone just by talking about the weather. Everyone always talks about the weather... crazy huh.
Anyway, my comp is here and we are working now. I think the transition was a little rough for him. He already has blisters and his feet go way off the bed (because he is 8 inches taller than me) but he’s doing great. He speaks way better than I did and has no fear to talk. What a blessing. I am starting to lose a little bit of my edge speaking Spanish because I am constantly trying to say things so that he will understand or translating. The good news is at the beginning of last month, we started a mission wide English fast, so we have to speak in English in the morning and while we are working, but can speak English at night and on p-day. We are doing great.
We had a baptism last Saturday! We were gonna have two but one called and cancelled on us right before the baptism, so we are going to keep working with Catriel, but Matas Meza was baptized by his friend Alexis. I got to confirm him. It was cool. I also gave like 6 baptismal interviews this week! 3 got baptized on Saturday, 2 today and we will have another baptism this weekend, so that should be great.
We had a really funny lesson yesterday. We sat down on the sidewalk with a bunch of kids and taught them how to pray. It kind of started as a joke, but turned into a lesson. It was great. We’ll see what happens.
I hope to hear from you all next week.
Love ya lots and don’t forget...the church is true...
Elder Rau

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Elder Rau's Companion Finally Arrives!

8/25/09
Hola Familia!
It was great to hear from you again this week. Things were pretty normal this week. The offices called me on Sunday to tell me that my new companion is coming this week. So right now, Im in Rosario writing on the computer of the financiero and will meet my new comp in about an hour. I am so excited. My misionero local went home last night and I left early this morning. I spent the morning either sleeping or enjoying the Saviors sermon to the Nephites while I rode in the bus. It was nice. I dont know if Ive told you yet, but the primary mode of transportation here is by bus, and so all of the long distance busses are double-decker and some even recline all the way (the seats I mean). Ill get a picture and send it.
Well, we will be having a baptism this weekend! Two young men will enter into the waters of baptism and make a covenant with their Father that will open the door to His kingdom. Pretty cool huh. Catriel has been investigating for quite a while. He is the brother of that hermana in the Rama (branch) I know thats not very specific, but its the best I can do. We were teaching his brother, but he liked his life the way it was because he didnt realize how many problems he had. Hell come around some day, but as for catriel, hes ready and excited. Me too. The other is named Matas and is a stud! He is friends with some new members in another ward, and has gone to church and seminary with them for about three weeks. We originally had a date for September, but when I asked him how he felt about that, he said well, I just wanna get baptized as soon as possible because you never know when the Lord is gonna comeya gotta be prepared That was Monday, so we moved his baptism up to this weekend. Pretty cool huh. Hes just one of those people that is so prepared that he accepts the gospel at the drop of a hat.
We also started teaching some kids. 3 brothers of 12, 10 and 9 years. They are all way cool and are going to come to church on Sunday. Im kind of nervous because if we have a hard time getting them (investigators in general) to come now, I dont know what they are going to do when they have to take a bus to another church. They are going to close ours and remodel next week, so we have to take a bus about 25 minutes to another church. I guess it will help to separate the wheat from the tares. Other than that, we are still teaching a bunch of unmarried couples that are having difficulty starting the marriage process. We are really going to focus on the temple with them. With that as their goal, baptism will be much easier and they will have a great focus. The other problem is that in the coming months, the BA temple will close for 1 or 2 years because of remodel. Argentina will be without a temple for a while. Depends on when they finish cordoba.
I hope everyone is having fun, especially the Richardsons. I would love to go to DC some day, but well see. I hope I never have to live there. Or anywhere in the east for that matter I think Colorado is as far as I would go
Anyway, I love you all so much and know that this is the true church of Jesus Christ, and that He is our savior.
Elder Rau

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


La rata y su asesino (the rat and his assisin)
This picture was taken last Wednesday in Nate's area. The bull in the background is famous in the misson.

The atonement and plan of god is perfect! That's what I learned this week.

Today is one of the more enjoyable p-days. Another compareismo stayed upstairs with the zone leaders and we all studied together this morning. We played games that have to do with the church and stuff like that. A gamie similar to that pyramid game that Donny Osmond hosted for a while. It was great. By the way, I still don't have a real comp. It's ok though because my current comp is a stud! (he is an 18 year old from the stake) He has to go home this week because he has a dentist appointment and his feet are full of blisters, but he keeps on working. We actually got everything on the standards this week, except for investigators in the capilla. we needed 3 or 4 more...it was a holiday though...dia del nio... It would be ok if we were teaching single people, but unfortuanately and luckily, we are teaching mostly young families. The really good news is that in the next 9 weeks, we could marry 9 couples, but I think realistically 5 couples will make it. 3 of those 9 are part memeber families.

We are doing pretty good. Last Wednesday was the best. After p-day, we had one of the most spiritual lessons of all time, then that spirit carried over for the rest of the weekend. The wife of that member aked me why death was a consequense of the fall of Adam and Eve. I hadn't really thought about it before. After a little discusion, it hit me. It was one of those times when you learn while you are talking. It was way cool. I have heard so many times that one of the happiest moments in the life of someone is the birth of a child. We learn in 2 Nephi 2:11 that there must be an opposition in all things. If there is a happiest moment, there has to be a saddest moment, right? Even for a prophet, the passing of a loved one is enough to bring him to tears. Luckily, the saddest moment is fixed through the atonement. Basically, the atonement and plan of God is perfect! That's what I learned this week.
The chruch is true. Jesus Christ lives and guides and directs us though his chosen prophet, Thomas Monson. I know that it is ture!
Un Abrazoo! Elder Rau

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Lord Qualifies Those He Calls... So Everything should Turn Out All Right




7-20-09
Hola Familia,
Well, I’ll start with the transfers. I know I told you that I might train, but it looks like I’m gonna have to wait for a little bit longer. One of the assistants called me today in the morning and told me that my hijo has been delayed due to his visa, and will be arriving in about a week. I’m gonna train! I’m so excited. He’s called elder Taylor, from somewhere in Utah...go figure. I can’t wait to see what it’s like to go through your first weeks in Argentina! I’m also going to be serving as district leader. I’m very excited for that as well because I know that I will learn so much and become a better person. For both of these assignments, I don’t feel exactly prepared, but I know that the Lord qualifies those whom he calls and that I have his help, so everything should turn out all right. I will tag along with the zone leaders or elder Chunga, the other elder I live with. He is also training!
The week was a little more stressful. We had some significant unity problems. Apparently, my comp thought that because we got the standards, we could take a couple days off. It definitely doesn’t work like that. We just didn’t click this week. After two transfers together, the light at the end of the tunnel came into view and we bolted. Not my favorite week, but as always, I still learned a ton and am anxious to get going with my new assignments.
The baptism of Hugo went well. No one from our ward, minus the bishop came, so that was lame, but we did it with another little girl that we taught in the branch, and her whole family came, so there were people there at least. I just talked to the elders in his new ward, and he will be well received I’m sure. I now have a camera, so I will be send you a pic or two. He asked the elder who did the interview to baptize him, which was cool because he is on his way home right now. He got in the water his last week. Cool to see. The bishop confirmed him and the spirit was strong. What a privilege to participate in things like that.
We had some way cool lessons this week. I’m not sure if I’ve told you yet about an argentine custom, but it makes for awkward situations as a missionary. Everyone kisses to greet. Mostly the women, but there is nothing weird about two men giving a kiss on the cheek to greet each other. Took a while to get used to... We don’t do it as missionaries, but sometimes there is no avoiding it, especially with the old women. Luckily I have only had two or three man kisses, and alcohol was probably involved...good times. But the other night, we were talking to this hilarious old lady. She is Evangelista and has a lot of faith. We explained that we don’t greet like normal argentines, then gave the flu as an excuse. She went off for about 5 minutes about how we shouldn’t have fear of anything because we are the servants of the Lord and stuff like that. Needless to say, there was no avoiding the kiss. Funny stuff. Last night we had a very powerful lesson with her. She has no problem believing in Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon. All she needs to understand is that there is only one true church, and she’s in the water. She is really great. We are teaching a few other families, and are seeing a little progress. I plan on using the faith and excitement of a newbie to elevate the area. I’m very excited to hear about what they are teaching in the MTC. I took notes, but I missed a lot of stuff. They teach you how to be perfect there. We are going to apply everything he learned there...that is, once he gets here.
Anyway, that’s about it. I’ll be here for one or two more, but I’m looking forward to it.
I love you all so much and can’t wait to see the pics from your weekend. That sounds like so much fun. We should do that after I get home! I love you a ton, and KNOW that this is the church of Christ, restored in its perfect form with prophets and apostles and all that good stuff...revelation....authority...you know....
Chau,
Elder Rau

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

La iglesia de jesucristo de los santos de los ultimos días...un camino real...


Hola Familia!
Well, I talked a little bit last week about the standards of the mission. I am quite pleased to report that after doing all that we could possibly do, the Lord worked a miracle and we got it. It looked grim when Sunday rolled around, especially when two of our primary investigators didn’t make it to church. Luckily, we have two sacrament meetings, and one of them came to the later one. Its nice to have two areas sometimes. Also, someone from another ward brought a cousin or something to church, so the elders there set a cita for us and it counted. We did divisions with the members or were with them pretty much all day, and we pulled off the remaining five lessons with member present, contacted a reference and by 8:45 we had it. It felt pretty good. Now, the reason we got it this week has a lot to do with a call that I got last Tuesday morning. It was very motivating. One of the assistants called me and said hey, president wants you to train, but you gotta get the standards first (it’s a requirement to train. You have to get the standards in the transfer before) Needless to say, I was pretty stoked. So it looks like I’m gonna be able to train this coming transfer. It’s a huge responsibility and I’m pretty nervous. If I could choose, I would want a fellow American. I love speaking Spanish all the time, but sometimes it’s nice to be able to express yourself more precisely. But anyway, we worked real hard and showed our faith. If we hadn’t met our goal this week, it would have been because it was impossible. Luckily, nothing is impossible to the Lord. Also, transfers are next week, so I think I will write on Tuesday...not sure though...
Needless to say, the week was pretty good. We found some pretty solid people, but our big baptism planned for this weekend has pretty much fallen through. All of the candidates from the other areas won’t make it and we are down to one. Hugo, that guy we contacted in the street. The only reason we will get to baptize him is because the Lord is merciful. He will be moving on Monday. Pretty crazy. He is very prepared, and has already passed his interview, so we are green for the 18th. Very exciting. The others are lacking a solid confirmation, or are receiving pressure from family or friends.
I’m healthy for now. Another elder in the pinch just got the flu (not the swine flu) and he is the kind of guy that coughs in his hands and then touches everything, so we’ll see how this goes. We pretty much just make him stay in his room. Last night he asked me to give him a blessing. It was one of the more memorable ones. The words came immediately. So quickly that I didn’t even have to think before the came out of my mouth. It was pretty cool.
Back to the standards. We did it as a district, and 5 of the 8 companionships in the zone did it, so we get to watch a movie today. I think we are gonna watch Wall-E. I am so excited!
I continue to learn so much every day and I am starting to become the missionary that I want to be. Everyone always says that once you figure it out, it’s time to go home. I hope that’s not the case. I gotta figure it out early. I’m pretty content and love being here. I’m glad to hear that everything is going well with y’all. Be safe and have fun with the reunion. I’m sad to miss it, but ya know, I’ll live.
I love you all so much and can’t wait to hear from you next week and see all the cool pictures. The church is sooo true. We are led by a prophet. We are children of a loving Heavenly Father who sent his son to pave the way back to his presence. I know that this is the true church of Jesus Christ, with the authority to be called such.
Love ya! Elder Rau

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Swine Flu in Argentina!

Hola Familia!
Another average week here in argentina. So this big flu thing is taking its toll. Lots of muertos (deaths) in Argentina. So far only one elder in the mission has had the big time, bad flu, but 50 of the 200 are sick. That means that for at least a day or two, half of the mission was immoblizied. Bad news. We werent allowed to do contacts (knocking or in the street) for a little while...but we only lasted a day. Being a missionary and not contacting doesnt really work....its kind of what we do here. But yeah, we are just washing our hands alot and trying to to greet with a handshake and stuff like that... which is also really really hard. I got letters from both Elder Layton and Elder Grow last week. That was cool. They are doing way good and it looks like sean is having an alma mission, as opposed to an abinadai mission. Wait, did I already tell you that He sent me a letter? Was that last week? I dont know, I lost count...but just in case, there it is again. Sean, Logan, I love you guys! Keep up the good work.
More about the flu. My comp was sick, so I had a day and a half of study. I would have rather been in the street, but it was nice to finally get to study all the things that I dont have time for. I am really grateful for the gift of tounges. Spanish is so cool.
Anyway, we are working twoards a big baptism right now. We have 4 people set for the 18th, plus an 8 year old. Another companionship has 2 or 3 plus 3 eight year olds! That would be a sweet baptism. We should be baptising two brothers of an hermana, plus that guy we contacted in the street last week and another kid we have been teaching for a really long time. We arent too sure about the last one but I think he could make it. He finaly came to church this week. Im dead set on getting those standards set by the president this week, and if we do it, Ill tell you why.
Thats about it. We should finish this transfer pretty strong. Im looking forward to a change, but more than happy to work with my comp. Hes great. Hes not that much younger than me in the mission, but its still way cool to see him progress and change. Hes changed quite a bit since we started 11 transfers ago.
Well, I love you all a whole bunch. I also love being a missionary. Its the best.
The church is true. Thats all I have to say about that.
Elder Rau

Friday, June 26, 2009

Starting the Second Year...

Hola Familia!
It was great to hear from you this week! Im glad to hear that everything is going well. Also glad to hear that Jason is doing well and that the Oregon boys showed them californians whats up. I know I didnt really follow in the fishing tradition like my brothers, but Im still proud of you all!
Well, one year down. Hard to believe. Ive heard alot of talk about this being the peak or the highest part of the mission, but I hope thats not true. The peak of the mission really should be the day you get on the plane to come home...or maybe the day before...you know what I mean. But yeah, its deffinetly easier to look back and see what Ive done so far, but every time I do, I realize that its not enough. I need to be so much better. Jake sent me a letter at the begining and talked about how even if we were to labor all our days, we still would be in great debt to the Lord for what he has done for us. I think Im begining to understand that, and it makes me want to work harder. Its easy to give everything you have, but to be productive and effecient is another thing alotgether. There are alot of other factors involved, such as the availability of the investigators and stuff like that, but I guess I just need to rely more on the spirit to tell me all the things that I should do. But all the same, I love being a part of the work and am learning alot of important things that will help me serve better now and in the future.
Yes dad, Presidente Villalba did tell me you wrote him. At zone conference last week. I forgot to tell you. He said your spanish was perfect. He might have been lying about what he told you about me. I dont want him to give you high expectations so that you will be disapointed when I get home, but I can communicate, and Im progressing, so thats about all I can ask for I guess. Yesterday some kids were yelling whats your name? so I assumed they spoke english, and tried to do a contact in english. I couldnt do it. It was pretty funny. Yanqui missionaries have our own language. Its a mix of the two. Dad is probably the only one that will appreciate this, but common questions are, when are you elders going to llegar?; We golpear-ed that whole calle and didnt find one nuevo. I also recently learned that referencia in english is actually referal, not reference. I dont even want to think about giving a talk in english... I also went on divisions with a norte americano and couldnt remember how to say some stuff, or it was easier to say it in spanish. Moments like that are encouraging, untill I realize that instead of knowing two languages, I forgot half of one to make room for half of another...so I have some work to do when I get home.
Well, kind of weird writing on wednensday, but good I guess. It will take some getting used to I suppose. But as far as the week goes, it wasnt too bad. We had alot of missionary things to deal with, and didnt have as much time to focus on the missionary work, but this week should be much different. We have some high goals and intentions to meet thim this week. We are doing much better as a companionship. I am learning why we are two, and not just one. Its also bery cool to see the growth in my comp. He is very, very timid but is going out of his comfort zone and making alot of progress. Im really proud of him.
It was raining Sunday morning, and down here, that means church is canceled. Not really, but thats what it seems like. We had six people in the branch, but one was an investigator! One of the brothers of that hermana came! He liked it alot. Im pretty confident that they will make it to their baptismal date. Did I tell you about the prison guard? His name is ezequiel and has been taught for like 4 months, but as it turns out, he is in our ward. He is working on his work schedule because he wants to be able to comply with the Sabath day, but we have a goal for the 11. Its the same for the Brothers from the Branch. Two sepraate baptisms in one day, its gonna be crazy but soooo sweet! We also found a new couple this week. They have two kids and are aweswome. Rita y Emiliano. Ritas Godfather is a member who used to be in the mission presidency, so I met him once or twice. He has always talked with her about the church...so yeah, they are pretty much prepared. Im very optimistic about them.
Favorite scripture of the week that is pretty much applicable in every situation comes from ether. Hermano de Jared and the rocks. Its fun trying to explain why the actual name of the brother of jared isnt in the scriptures to investigators. Long story short, Mahonrimoriancumr (did I spell that right?) had to think alot and do alot of work before the Lord helped him out with the whole light situation. He had to present his solution to the Lord and ask for a miracle. According to his faith, the Lord worked a miracle. I like that story alot.
Well, I love you all and look forward to next week. I still know that the church is true, no matter what. Nothing can change that, so nothing should make us think otherwise. The book of mormon is the key to everthing. If that book is true, so is Joseph Smiths claim to authority, which solves any doctrinal issue. And guess what...it is true, so there you have it.
Anyway, love you!
Elder Rau

Friday, June 19, 2009

Scooby Doo?

Hola Familia!
I am safe and well. Thanks for all the letters and stuff this week. I totally forgot to tell you last week probably because I didn’t know yet, but p-day changed to Wednesday..like forever...so you can be expecting letters on Wednesday from now on.
Its been kind of a long week. The robo has had a little too much to do with the work. We have been taking turns with the other elders in the pinch watching it during the day, so we have lost some hours in the street. But everything will be solved today starting at 3:00. As we were expecting, the reja took a little bit longer to get done, but today it’s done and will be put it. We will be able to leave the pinch feeling a little more confident. Big news though, We know who it is. There are a million factors, but the clincher is all thanks to my watching scooby doo as a child. We found a footprint in the pinch...on my pillow... and there is a guy that works in a lottery ticket thing and he is always standing outside talking with his friends in plain view of the pinch. They knew our horario. But anyway, we contacted him the other night, and I happened to look down to find the same footprints. So testified of the justice of God, the judgement and stuff like that. And that’s it. That’s where is stops. Many prayers have been offered on behalf of the chorros, half because I really do feel bad for them and half because I know we are supposed to pray for those that do bad things against us. But yeah, we are doing alright. We are being blessed.
We had zone conference and interviews this week. They are getting everything out of the way early this transfer, so I’m thinking we have a big visitor on his way or something. I’m hoping for Elders Scott or Christofferson. That would be way cool.
As far as investigators, we have some pretty capo (stud or studly) people to teach. Interestingly enough, those who are progressing the most are member references...hmmm... Enzo y Katriel are brothers of a member. They have 17 and 15. I am pretty confident that they will arrive at the date that we set with them, which will be the 11th. We also are teaching a guy that has been listening for a long time, and finally feels confident enough to take the big step and make a covenant with God and be baptized for the remission of his sins. Also programed for the 11th. So we have two separate baptisms in two wards on one day. That’s gonna be sweet! We have been getting a lot of references lately, and the investigator pool shows it. We are visiting a family that lives down the street from the bishop, and other family members and friends of the members. We are starting to get the idea of what every member a missionary really means! I’m lovin it... and I’m not talkin about mcdonalds.
I got the video from Jake. Holy Cow! How long has it been since that kid was born? He’s already smiling! I’m way out of the loop. It’s all good though, I’ve already accepted the fact that he’ll be talking by the time I get to meet him. He looks a lot like Anson.
Oh yeah, so tomorrow is my one year mark....wait...ONE YEAR! It snuck up on me. I actually think I have more than a year left in the mission though. I’m gonna be lucky and have a mission of one year and a week or so. That’s how transfers works out. So I think I’m going to order ice cream tomorrow and eat it in front of the heaters because it’s almost winter here. A year ago today, right now, we were driving to Utah...crazy!
I also finished the Book of Mormon again this week and today I finished Jesus the Christ. Pretty cool. This time through we read it as a mission and I did it in 75 days. We focused on the names/references to, doctrines of, attributes of and words of Christ. Every page of the book is marked. They weren’t lying when they said another testament of Jesus Christ. Faith and Repentance came up the most under doctrines. I really enjoy that book. I know it’s true.
Well, I think that’s it. I’m really glad to hear about Gabes improvement and will continue to pray for him. I wrote him a letter a little while ago (him and some other people) but haven’t been able to send it yet because I can’t find a letter place (i forget what it’s called) so maybe next week when I go to centro. Well see.
Anyway, I love you all a bunch and just want you to know that the Church is true, that God loves us so He sent His Son.
Elder Rau

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

No Testimony Until After the Trial of Our Faith

6/9/09
Hola Familia!
Thanks so much for the letters and the pictures! I love seeing you all. I will be unable to send pictures for a little while, so sorry about that. I’ll explain in a minute... It’s been quite a week here. Lots of stuff...
I’ll start with the worst. Well, we have known for a little while that our pinch isn’t secure. Apparently some other people found out too... So yeah, we got robbed. Not once, but twice. The first time the just looked around and took what they could fit in a backpack, the second time they got us a little worse. I lost quite a bit. My camera got taken, but luckily I have almost everything backed up on a gig stick, so I will be making a CD to send home. Just so you know, I lost my suits, so I think I’m gonna have to find a new one here. Sorry Jake, they took the gerber... Thanks though, it really was useful for the year I had it. I guess that’s enough. I’ll just say they got us pretty good. We are all ok though, and I still have my journal and pictures and scriptures, so I guess that’s the stuff that will really matter in the future...oh yeah, and my testimony, but they can’t take that no matter how hard they try. We are getting some bars put on our windows this week, and will be taking turns staying in, so it won’t be empty ever.
Transfers. I’m staying here with Elder Bascur for one more, which will be his fourth here, so he’s gone after this one pretty much for sure. So we have one more to work with our investigators and try and get some good stuff done. I’ve been thinking a lot this week about stuff I wanted to do for the next transfer. It will be a little difficult to implement, but it will be worth it. We are going to crack down on the little things. We are going to learn what 100% really means.
Our investigators are not doing to hot right now, but I guess there is no testimony until after the trail of faith, no? They are definitely seeing some trails, but we are working with them. Super spiritual lessons are pretty key. For some reason there is a big problem with them understanding that authority is key in baptism. I don’t really know how to explain it more clearly for them. I have used every example I can think of and we have just come right out and said that their baptism is not valid in the eyes of God, but they still don’t get it! We are finding some really great people though. There is a really cool guy out in Camp Crespo that was very interested after the first contact and even more so after the first lesson. So we are looking forward to working with him.
We have also been receiving a ton of reference from the members, with is the best, but contacting them is another thing...haha. We are trying to involve them in the whole process, but they just can’t seem to find the time or commit to a specific time. It’s rough, but were working with them.
I’m really glad that Gabe is doing alright. He was included in my fast last week, so I’m grateful for that. Let him know that I love him a bunch and will continue praying for him. I know he probably is enjoying the break having us gone so that we can’t bug him or pick on him, but we will be back before he knows it. Hopefully not too soon, but I look forward to the day I can mess with him again.
Congrats to Ari and Jason on the HOUSE!!! What’s going to happen with the duplex?
Well, I’m glad you are all doing well and hope you enjoy your week! I love you all so much and know that families are the most important for our Heavenly Father. Thanks to the priesthood, we can be together forever. The church is true.
Elder Rau

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Wow... it's almost been a year!

6/1/09
Hola Familia!
Glad to hear that you are all well. I regret to inform you all that the rat has not yet met his demise...in fact, he hasn't even shown his little tail all this week, at least, we havent seen him. And to clarify, he wasnt exactly on fire, he just had burning paper on him, so he was kind of glowing, like a sparkler on the fourth of july, you could follow his trail. It was great.
Well, we had interview this week, which was great! Comp Mayor interviews are different than comp Menor. All of my other interviews have been about what i was learning, how I was feeling and all that, but now, its business. He wanted to know about the area, what exactly we were doing and how my comp is doing. Different, but still way good. We also got some good instruction from the zone leaders and the assistants. Mostly about keeping track of people with the area book and working with the ward. The Lords house is a house of order.
Also, I think the heat has finally ended. Its really cold now. I guess it is snowing in cordoba. It just rains here. Its been down to about 5 C, which is pretty stinkin cold when you are used to 35 or 40.
For two nights in a row, the assitants stayed upstairs with the zone leaders, so we had some good times. They were a little restless after having traveled and giving the same taller all day, so we had some fun.
Well, the investigators are doing good... untill Sunday when they are all too busy or can't come to church! Its ok though, we have some for sure next week. One of them is a man of 33 years, with a father who is a JW...that is making things interesting. Another one is a kid of 17 who really wants to be baptised...like really bad. We arent exactly sure he understands it quite yet, but we still have like 3 weeks before he can be baptised because he has to go to church 2 times before hand. The family of 8... Not too much progress, but the continue to atend us, so I guess thats good. Did I mention it last week?...we are teaching a ton of evangelists! They all have some very good doctrines, but just a few that are very incorrect about church organization and priesthood. Twice this week we were asked (hypothetically) if we were prepared to cast out a deamon. I cant even descibe to you how good it feels to answer affirmatively, knowing that we actually are prepared for something like that. Kind of a cool confidence builder. This week has helped stop beating around the bush and get strait to it. We are members of the onloy true church. Its cool to testify of that.
Well, at 2 this morning, I woke up to what I thought was water hitting the floor. I was confused for a minnute, then I saw the shadow of my comp running to the bathroom. He threw up big time...and it got on my shower sandals! Haha, hes a lot better now, but I just wanted to share with you that little experience. It had something to do with some soup he ate last night before bed I think.
Poor Elder Layton! The Hermana was going nuts about the dengue for a long time. I actually got bit by the type of mosquito that carries it the other day, but Im ok, so I think I missed it. I hope he enjoyed his time in the jungle, haha. Let him know that I am praying for him and am waiting for a letter from him. Also, send greetings to Elder Mckibben. I dont remember if I wrote him last, or if he wrote me, but I guess by the time I figure it out, he will be home, so I guess it doesnt really matter. Saludos a todos los otros misioneros, donde estn. (Is that correct dad?) Speaking of other elders, looks like Elder Herold has an exciting start to his misin. Hes already had a baptism and his birthday is this week.
I think thats it from me this week. We are doing great here and next week is transfers, so expect my letter on Tuesday instead of Monday. You know the drill. Send pictures, particualrly of anson, I forgot what he looks like...just kidding...
I love you all a ton, and cant wait to hear form you next week. But untill then, just remember that the church is the truest and President Monson is a prophet, and as such, talks with God, just like Moses did. Pretty cool huh.
Elder Rau

Happy Independence Day in Argentina!

5/25/09
Hola Familia!
Happy Memorial Day! Believe it or not, we are celebrating here too, the only difference is that we are celebrating independence here. May 25th is the 4th of July in Argentina. I dont think they do too much with fireworks, but they sure do make up for it with what they do to the pigs. More on that later, but Im glad to hear that everyone is doing well and are happy and stuff like that.
Well, the morning was evenful. We were rushed because its a holiday and everything closes down early, but luckily we found a ciber that stays open all day. Funny thing though, were were here about 3 hours ago, and I had a letter just about finished.and the power cut. Haha, I lost everything, so here I am starting again. I also lost a lot of time, so let me just say that this week was way good, and all that talk about dats was well timed because we blew this place up last week! We doubled and tripled in many categories, and that means that we are becoming more effective tools for the lord to use here. That makes me happy.
We have a bunch of new people to work with, including a (very) evangelist familyof 85 people over 8 yearspretty excited about that one. I really enjoy talking to evangelists. We share so many beliefs, they just have a hard time recognizing the fact that Crist established one church with apostles and profets, that God is the same yesterday today and forever, and that that organization should exist today in a restored church. Thats why we rely on the spirit to help them change their beliefs. It must be hard to have to change. I kind of wish I could know exactly what they feel in the conversion process, and I wish I could see what it was like to read the book of mormon for the first time, but I am very grateful for what I have been given, because I have been given much.
So yeah, everything is going really well. Im looking forward to the next couple of transfers, because I cant imagine president moving me again. I ready to be in one spot for a while.
But anyway, el 25 de mayo is a big day down here, and to celebrate, everyoneeveryone eats empanadas y locro. Empanadas are basically deepfried tacos with less flavor, but still sooo good, and locro is pig and corn. When I say pig, I mean every piece of the pig that you can imagine. The basically just cut it up and throw it all in a pot with some corn and cook it down into a kind of soup. You dont eat most of the pig parts, its just there for flavor. Its actually way good.
Higlights of the week include a very drunk old man dancing in the street, helping an investigator move and deffinetly the rat. So we have a rat. He comes out at night and eats the trash when we forget to put it somewhere he cant reach it. So far he hasnt made it inside our pinch, but the zone leaders live upstairs and they had a fun experience one night. Anyway, last night at about ten, we hearded him again, and he took shelter in a pipe (or gutters, but this pipe is horizontal for along time) We couldnt get the broom handle in far enough, and only had 30 minutesso we smoked him out. It was the funniest thing I have ever seen. We set a small fire at the mouth of the pipe and within a minute he came running and burst through the flames and took off running. He had pieces of burning paper caught in his fur, so we chased him until he took refuge in a hole that leads under the house. Ill keep you posted as to how this turns out. It was a very exciting evening.
Um, the investigators are doing well, and so are we. I am full of locro and empanadas and am loving being in Argentina. I will have to make me some pancakes a little later though, its been a little while.
I love you guys so much and hope that you are all doing well. Just know that I know that the church is (still) true and we are so blessed as a family. Hope to hear from you again next week!
Elder Rau

Monday, May 18, 2009


Family of the branch president from Rural in Concordia. Yamila (the baby) was born two days before Levi
Bautismo! Us and Romina and Exequiel and two others from the ward. Bryan and the bishop and Laura and her dad.

Hakuna Matada... Is Not the Life of a Missionary May 18, 2009

Hola Familia,
This week was quite a bit better than last. We got a lot more stuff done and alot more good stuff done. We have been working on improving the quality of our contacts (mostly with testimony) and controlling the conversation in lessons. Of course we want investigators to talk, but Argentines are very social people and really just like to talk about whatever... so we have to be more firm. We are making progress.
Yesterday was the most memorable day of the week because of a lesson. We had talked with a guy named walter earlier in the week, and we went by last night to see if he had some time to talk. He let us come in, and we talked with him and his wife for a while. He told us up front that no one was going to make him change his ideas or beliefs, and we told him that thats not what we wanted to do. We explained that we tell you what we know to be true, then invite you to ask God to find out for yourself. So we were talking, and we came to the first vision. I was relating Josephs experience and walter was looking at the folleto. He was looking very closely, then told us a story (as it turns out, he wasnt listening to me...haha, oh well). He told us that he used to be into drugs and all that fun stuff, then one day there was an accident and somehow ended up with a bullet in his head. He went into a coma (I think I would too if I got shot in the head...seems like the smartest thing to do). He said that the day before he came out of it, he saw a light, exactly like the light in the picture in the folleto that decended gradually untill it fell upon him, but then it went away. The next day he opened his eyes. He was very emotional, and told us that he didnt believe in stuff like that untill it happened to him. Long story short, the spirit was strong for the rest of the lesson, left a part in the book for them to read and we are going back tomorrow to see how it went. He told us that God didnt let him die because he still had something he was supposed to do here....Like accept the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ...
So we also had zone conference this week. It was way fun and I learned alot. There is alot of emphasis on the dats, which is hard for me because Its really hard for me sometimes to relate the numbers with people. For example at the end of the week, I see that we lack some numbers, and i start working harder. I guess its good because it gets me working harder, but at the same time, I shouldnt need that kind of motivation. I need to be working under a deadline all the time. But anyway, the dats are important and they throw alot of statistics at us that make the work some so easy and logical, but its not always like that. I dont know, i guess thats just something I have to get over. The good news is I know what Im doing here and know that I have the help of the Lord, so I guess all is well.
They also gave us a pretty intense study program. For the last month we have been reading about 3-4 chapters a day in the BoM with a marking system, and now we have a list of over 200 scriptures to memorize as well as other things. I did 6 this week...its gonna take a while. Who knows, maybe Ill have a photographic memory by the end. When presidente Bowen came, he stressed the importance of memorization, because the spirit cant draw from an empty well.
So yeah, that was basically the week...wait, one more thing. We watched the Lion King! We got permision to have an activity with our ward and another branch and we explained a lot of the symbolizm, then watched the movie. It was way cool. There is a ton of symbolism there.mufasa: God the Father, then Jesus Christ. Simba: Christ and us. Zazu: the holy ghost, Rafiki: the prophets...stuff like that. Pretty cool. The members really liked it.
Ok, thats it from me this week. I love you all and look forward to getter letters from you all next week!
The church is true and Christ is our savior. I know that its true.
Love,
Elder Rau

May 11, 2009

Hola Familia!
First of all.....HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO RYLYNN!!!!! AND CAMILLE TOO!!!! Mom sent me some pictures, and she is a very cute little girl! I think she has more hair now than cami had at 6 months... Dad told me about some debate as to how her name is pronounced. I have decided that is is prounounced similar to ryan. The accent would be over the y. RY-lynn. When it comes down to it, I will just call her whatever I want. Posibilities include RAR!!! (her inititals. Prounounced like a lion and/or dinosaur. Im sure anson or porter could give you a great demonstration.) But no matter what she is called, shes a cutie and I cant wait to meet her!
Well, mothers day came and went, and i really enjoyed talking to mom and dad. They pretty much already know everything that will be in this letter, so its mostly for the rest of you!
First of all, we had a baptism this week. It was pretty hectic getting them prepared, but Romina and Exequiel Lopez were batpized this week. Romina has 8 and Exequiel 11. I baptized romina and confirmed her yesterday. It was a way cool experience. When I got here, they only had be taught lesson one, the restauration, and I was very doubtful of them actually making it to the date, but by a miracle, we were able to teach and they were able to understand everything sufficiently tobe baptised. Twoother kids from the ward were baptised, which made for a huge turnout to the baptism. We had over 60 people there, many of which were not members. We only got one appointment out of the deal, but Im sure there are some good seeds planted for the future. It was a very special service and it was a priviledge to participate in it.
As I told mom and dad, Im really enjoying the mission! I cant believe I am almost at the year mark (ok, so Im still a month out but still!!!). Before you know it Ill be home! I guess that means I need to work harder, but I really am having the time of my life here! Im starting to feel more comfortable in my new area and everything like that. We are still trying to find the ballance in the work. By that I mean working efficently in stead of just working. Its kind of hard, but once we find it, this place is going to explode! There is alot of potential here.
I cant really think of much else. Just know that I love you all and am quite happy to hear that you are all doing well. Im anxiously awaiting some pictures...so send em! Haha. Seriously though, I love you guys so much!
The church is true. Thomas Monson is a prophet. Jospeh Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Chrsit. The priesthood is on the earth once more.
Love you,
Elder Rau

Monday, April 6, 2009

April 6th letter

"What a week! I can't even begin to tell you...but I guess I have to if I'm going to get this letter sent. I guess I'll start with a scripture. 2 Nefi 2:11...look it up and you will understand my week. Literally an opposition in all things this week....Of course, through opposition we are refined and finished, but it is through the struggling (and more importantly how we react to opposition) that we achieve it. As the verse indicates, we learn to better appreciate the blessings that we receive. I'm experiencing this right now, luckily I'm starting to see the blessings, but must admit that it is very hard to laugh sometimes. General conference really helped. It was absolutely amazing. I've been looking forward to it for about 6 months now, and I wasn't disappointed. I'm soo thankful to have a prophet and apostles. I felt that a constant theme was hope and being calm in the face of adversity, and as I have already mentioned, I need it right now....

Right now we are teaching some really cool people. We found a couple called Noemi and Jacinto. They are a little older and have a twenty ear old daughter with cancer, a ten year old daughter that is virtually blind, and he was recently in a car crash and can barely use one half of his body. They came to conference, Saturday afternoon and loved it. They keep telling us that they feel something special and that they never accept people to come into their house, they say that we are the first preachers they have let in. So they are sincere and intent and are waiting for an answer. We set a baptismal date with them for the 25th, and I know they can make it.

Another family consists of 7 kids and a single mom. The oldest son does not live with them, and we have only taught the mom and 15 year old kid. they both work in the harvest. (if I haven't told you yet, Concordia is a big time citrus town.)...So 1 of every 7 people work in the harvest. Jonathan (15)  has since the age of 12. He and his brother Sergio came to Saturday morning conference. They accepted a baptismal date in the first lesson. The are awesome, but have their fair share of trials to deal with as well. I know the gospel is a gospel of transformation and can change their lives, as long as they let it happen. "


April 1st letter and pictures, too

"We got back last night around midnight from a special conference in Rosario with the President and the assistants and stuff. It was just our zone, so 8 companionships. It was amazing. I love conferences, and this one was better because it was in more of a one on one environment...The mission home is sooooo nice. It's basically a mansion. We had lots of training and the stress of the conference was on unity and love. I learned a lot. We played a bunch of team building games...it was a blast."...

"Me and my comp are doing quite well. It's always a little different at the beginning of a new transfer with a new comp, but we are working out the little differences and starting to work together a lot better. Something I really like about him is the way he teaches. Up to now I have had comps that like to talk....a lot. And so their teaching style means they talk for a long time. Elder Arro teaches in much shorter segments, which is how I prefer it, and is also the suggestion of the PMG...so I'm enjoying that. I'm also learning a lot of argentine words. It's still hard adjusting to all spanish, but it's getting easier."

Elder Rau on his 20th Birthday! He said it was pretty much like any other day but at least he got a cake! 
Elder Rau's new companion - Elder Arro, with a cotton candy mustache.

Monday, March 30, 2009

More on the new area...

"...I'm here in Concordia. My area is called Rural and my Comp is Elder Arro. He is from Buenos Aires, Quilmes to be exact. he's a great elder, and I will more than likely be the one he finishes his mission with. He has two transfers left. There are probably 4 or 5 paved streets in our area, the rest is a sand/clay mixture. Its pretty cool, I will send pictures eventually. The pinch...lets just say , we are moving this week!!! We live with another companionship. Elder Burton is from St. George and Elder Gallegos is from Peru. Our zone leaders live in a big tall building down town.  We went there today and if you look out the windows, you can see Uruguay!! Crazy huh. The absolute best thing about this area is the branch! We have amazing leaders, all of which are excited about missionary work, and as we all know, when members and missionaries get together, great things happen. I have some very lofty goals that will require exact obedience and lots and lots of hard work and cooperation to accomplish. I am very excited. It is such a nice change from my last area. So with the language, right now is really hard because I am realizing all of the mistakes I was making before, but that being said, I am fixing them and learning a great deal. These next two transfers should be some of the best of my mission so far. Entre Rios is so different from B.A. There are way more palm trees and stuff like that. I love hills too...there are NONE in the entire province of Buenos Aires...pretty much. 
...Right now I just feel really grateful to be serving the Lord. I know that this is His work and it is a privilege to participate in it. "

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Castelli

"cool picture of the campo"

"The Kopf family parents"

"The Kopf family"

Elder Rau's Stay in Castelli was a short one. He was transferred this week to a new area called Concordia, Entre Rios. He said it's really pretty and really far away from where he is now and he's excited about getting his first latin companion. More on this to come!  


Monday, February 16, 2009

One week down in Pergamino

"la familia Alarcon" Such cute kids!

The new apartment. Or as Elder Nate calls it, "da pinch"

Look outside! The sun is shining! There are leaves on the trees!! I would like to go there. :)

A picture of the campo, ...I believe "campo" means the country.

Elder Nate's favorite food: Asado. 

"So one week down in the new area. I'm really enjoying myself here. The town isn't really that much different than parana, but it is a little cleaner and a bit smaller. My area, however, is less than half the size of my last area. It's really  nice. I can't remember how much I told you last week, but I'll just say that the ward is building right now. Our primary objective (approved by the mission president in interviews last week) is help the members get animated about the work. I think I mentioned that we are both new to the area, and it wasn't for obedience reasons that the old elders were pulled out. We think we are here to change the mentality of the ward. I had a revelation the other day after talking to the oldest member in Pergamino. He told us that when there is gossip or other problems in the ward, the baptisms stopped. So basically, if the ward isn't ready: 1. People won't have a spiritual experience. 2. The Lord won't put people into our path to bring into a dysfunctional ward. the missionaries can work their guts out, but if the ward isn't ready, the baptisms won't happen. Obviously, people have been baptized into dysfunctional wards, but I think as a general rule, the ward NEEDS to be solid to help the converts progress. So that's the goal here. There are a lot of really solid people, we just need some excitement. We are planning activities and are otherwise visiting members, teaching them and asking them to pray about a friend that they could invite to listen to us, attend and activity and so forth...

As I mentioned earlier, we had interviews this week. Interviews include some talleres (workshops) from the assistants and zone leaders, so it was an awesome day. Lots of new ideas to apply and great counsel from Presidente Villalba. He gave me a very nice comment about my Spanish, which I suspect was not fully deserved, but he was sincere. He is such a cool guy. A perfect example of a great leader in that he takes care of the whole mission, but every one of us know that he really cares about how we are doing...."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Time to move on....

After 6 months in his first area Elder Rau was transfered this week. Here are pictures of some of the people he came to love while serving in Cinco Esqunias. 

Elder Rau with Sebastian, his daughter and companion, Elder .....I can't remember (sorry!)

Elder Rau with the Farias Family

These are some scripture cases he bought with Christmas money from my parents and below are a few pictures he took during a p-day trip to the zoo. 

a carpincho.....very interesting looking animal. Nate says it's the largest rodent he's ever seen. Maybe this is where they got the inspiration for the R.O.U.S on the Princess bride. :) Apparently, Elder Rau's "manliness" status went up by being the only one in the group that would touch it. haha.

Here's a peacock trying to attract the ladies by doing a mating dance - the Elders got a real  kick out of watching this. Maybe it reminded them of their time at BYU before the mission. :)

And here's some of Elder Nate's letter:

"I am going south to the province of Buenos Aires! The city is called Pergamino, my area is called Castelli and my new comp is named elder Kleiner. He was actually born in Germany, but grew up mostly in the states. I might even pick up a little German from him! I'm also going to live in a four man pinch (apartment)!!! With a real shower! The work is slow in the south...but not for long. We are going to blow that place up! haha. 

I have kind of known that this would be my last week in Parana, so I've kind of been preparing myself for the news all week (trying to work hard, but of course, endless possibilities about where I was going to go). This is the only part of Argentina that I know, that being said, this is Argentina for me. I have mixed feelings about leaving and will miss a lot of things and people.....but it's definitely time to move on, and with that, learn new things and confront new challenges and all that good stuff.

....We had another cool charla with a guy in front of his house. It started out with him telling us that at his age, he couldn't learn anything from us. Then he shared some of his beliefs, we said that we agreed with him and shared some more of ours and as we were set ting up a return appointment, the conversation drifted to basketball. He LOVES the NBA, specifically Jordan, Pippin, Malone and Stockton! He said the Jazz were his favorites back in the day. His demeanor changed completely and we kind of bonded I guess. The last thing he said blew me away. Its what I have been wanting to hear all along. So many times people say that all churches are good and that we all go to the same God after this life. He told us that if there was one God, there should be one church. Simultaneously we both said Exactly! Then he said, "so now I'm going to go read your folleto." (or something along those lines) I just hope he prays about it. We felt really good after that one."