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 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 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 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 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 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

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!

Hola Familia!
Glad to hear that you are all well. I regret to inform you all that the rat has not yet met his 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 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!

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