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."