Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mundo Marino (Sea World Argentina Style)

Hey Family,
So, it was great talking with everyone on Christmas. I loved it a lot. I actually liked it a lot more than I thought I would. It has been a while since I've heard all of your voices. And the first time for Troy and Laynie. They're so cute. I can't wait to play with them, and hopefully there will be more when I get back. That would be choice. So, you all said you were going to be better at writing, so we'll see if you have "real intent"!

This last week we did service for an orphanage with some nun and a bunch of little kids. It was pretty sweet. We had to travel out to Madariago even further south from where we're at. The further you get from Buenos Aires, I think the nicer the area's get. It was way nice. We sanded and painted chairs and picked up trash and organized their place. Then we gave them presents and sang Christmas songs to them. President Asay came with his family that is here visiting him. I think they stayed out somewhere over there on the coast. Like in Pinamar. That place is amazing. So nice. But it was a fun service project. We had a while elephant gift exchange after but I totally forgot about it so I just watched from the outside. We ate Peruvian food though as a zone. Man that food is so good. It's probably a good thing they don't cook like that here, otherwise I'd come home looking like Papa' Noel. We had to get up at 4:30 am and didn't get back until 9:30 pm. We travel a lot here on the coast. I feel like last week we hardly worked. We had like one full day to work but we had to go to Mar de Ajo' so that I could do a baptismal interview. He was a cool guy though and worth the trip. The best part of Christmas was talking to you guys. I loved that. I mean spending Christmas with my comp was great an all, but you are my family...

Today was pretty rad. A member got us entradas to Mundo Marino, aka Sea World. It was rad. I've never seen that before. Dolphins and whales jumping. I remember Manatees when we lived in Florida, but they just swam around and didn't really do anything. It was nuts.

Well, the work has been kind of rough and I feel like it's just the start because everyone that lives here works all the time now that it's tourist season and the tourists that come don't want to talk to the missionaries. But, we came here to talk to them so we'll see how it goes. I've never seen so many people in San Clemente and I hear that this is nothing. It's gonna be nuts here come January. I hope you all had a Merry Christmas. I'll see ya next year!
Gavin



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Service with a smile!




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A Holly Jolly Christmas, ugly sweater contest and all!




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Monday, December 14, 2009

When in Rome...or sea (in other words) do as the Argentines do!

We baptized Yanina Urbano this last Saturday. It was awesome! Lucas, our only joven (young man) in our branch, who is also her boyfriend, performed the baptism. I had the opportunity to confirm her yesterday. It was really neat. Her mom has been re-super-activated and now she has the support of her daughter. They both help each other and are really close to one another. It's really great to see actually. It's as if they are best friends. It makes me think of how my relationship is with you mom and you dad. I hope that we can consider each other "bff's"! I'm pretty sure we can. (forever and ever Gav) It really is great to see them grow spiritually together. I think growing spiritually together with someone is key to a successful relationship. You have to grow closer to the Lord and things will always work themselves out. And you will also have more strength than ever. I don't know...I've just been really grateful for their example they've given to me and I hope that I can consider myself bfffs with the fam. Best family friends forever. Just like the example of Tiger. He's going to suffer the rest of his life for his decisions concerning his family. I'm sure he would care less about fame and money NOW than before. But now if he loses his family, he will never be truly happy. That's really sad. Just goes to show it can happen to anyone. Just goes to show that when we start slippin, it's a lot easier to fall. And it always starts with something little and develops from there. That's why I always love to tell my investigators how we can't just cruise through life every day. If we're not progressing spiritually every day, we are falling. I can't think of a better way to translate that in English, but anyways, I'm so thankful for my family and love you guys so much!! And am so grateful for all you do for me and for your examples. Without my family, I wouldn't be happy. Just goes to show that the family is central to God's plan for us.

Okay, so to answer all your questions mom (sorry Gav :) yes, I got the package. I loved it. I already told you, but I'll tell you again. I loved the toothpaste. I miss good toothpaste. I loved everything. I've already chowed down on just about everything. I've been a rice makin' machine. (I sent him Minute Rice :) I make a mean batch of rice now. The shoe insoles work great. Tech decks, I'm on a whole new level with my tech deck skills these days. On Christmas I will call you guys, yes, but you need to let me know what time is best for all of you. I can basically call whenever but I want to be able to talk to everyone. I can use phone cards or you can call me, whatever works out best for you. A 10 peso phone card gives me an hour, so if it's cheaper to buy phone cards than for you to call me back, that's cool. But sweet! Congrats on your mission call. I don't really understand how all that went down. I can see Big D speakin' da espanish! That would be sweet! You guys will enjoy that calling so much. I'm sure you guys will help a lot of people. You will love serving especially together.

Well, make sure you're praying and reading scriptures and going to Church. If you're doing that, then you won't have worries, if not, you may be slippin'. Just like Kim Thompson used to teach me with golf. Every time I thought my swing was whacked it was because of a chain reaction of things starting from my basics. Like my posture, grip and stance. just like the Gospel...if we're praying, reading scriptures (not just reading, but applying the teachings to our lives) and going to church we will be doing great. I love you all and am so excited to talk with you at Christmas. I love the gospel and know that it's true and through it is the only true happiness we can have.
Los amo,
Amenme,
Elder Gavin Phillips Rice

P.S. Sorry for no pics, I still need to buy a new card.
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Friday, December 11, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Oh Boy...




Hey Fam,
Just another week here in paradise! No, not really. It's been hot but super rainy as well...which makes it really nice because it's a bit cooler. But, the greatest thing is, is that we are baptizing again this Saturday! We're baptizing Yanina who has been a super trooper attending church the last 5 Sunday's with her mom who was recently re activated. She was inactive for 8 years so this is good news. Super cool people. Yanina is also dating the only joven (young man) of the branch se llama (named) Lucas. So, we've got a win/win situation. We're hoping that Lucas will baptize her which would be really cool for them when they get married and sealed in the Temple!! In like 5 years...but, they're Argentine so maybe more like 1 or 2, or at least when the Temple gets finished.

So, zone conference was crazy. We left at like 4 in the morning and got back at 9 pm. We were slammed in a convey with the whole zone. Talk about claustrophobia! Not to mention it was so HOT!! But so worth it! I got mail and a package from Veener and Aunt Vicki which was unexpectedly great! Thank you so much for everything you sent me!!!! Wow, I'm so lucky! I've already been chowing down on all the food. I downed that fudge already that grandma made me. She is amazing! I love how she said on her little note, "this was made with a lot of love and stirring" haha. She is great! Thanks for the pics and the letter's too. It's really great to see updated pics of the fam. I miss you guys. Everyone seems to be doing great. Congrats to Adam on getting into the OU ortho program and Cam for workin' hard on the pre med Dr. shadowing thing. That's cool! I love to hear good news about the fam.

Well, I wanted to say thanks for everything and for just being who you are. I love my family and feel so blessed to be a part of it. And wow...Tiger Woods?...that makes me sick. Too bad. I can't wait to give B. Bills a hard time about that. He loves the guy!

Things are going well here in San Clemente. It's starting to fill up with people. More and More come every week and apparently there will still be more to come! School gets out in a couple weeks so it should get packed here! I'm sure we'll have tons of references for other missionaries but we'll see how things go. I pray for you guys every day. Pray for me and that this little branch of San Clemente will grow!!!! We had 2 investigators in Sacrament meeting but hardly had any members there. We had 7 people for the classes after, including the Branch President and his wife and daughter. We need to fill it up here!

Throw a snowball for me. (Preferably at someone) haha
Elder Rice

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Future Orthodontist!!

Yes! We MATCHed with our #1 school.... OU!!! We are so excited that Adam got in! We feel so blessed! Adam will really be an orthodontist... It is crazy! Ortho school starts July 1st and he will be an official dentist in June 2010, so he gets 1 month off!

We are so proud of him! We can't believe he got into OU!! Cheers to Adam! And seriously, how cute is Troy?!

More Thanksgiving memories!

We got to see Adam, Whitney and Troy for one night of the Thanksgiving break before they headed to Idaho. Troy is lookin' good in his OU sweats! We're excited that he will be able to wear them a couple years longer since Adam was accepted to OU ortho school today! Way to go Adam! We're proud of you!




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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rice Krispy Treats...homemade even!


Missionaries on the coast!
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Word...

Hey Fam,
I miss going to St. George with everyone. I bet that was a lot of fun. Did you guys play golf or just shoot guns? And..since when did we become a "shooting" family?! That's funny. So, some good things have happened this week. First off, the Cougs beat the U!!! Yes! That makes me happy. If only Elder Dowden were here, but he and E. Fafai finished last week. Mom, if you go to the homecoming, don't cry! (I make no promises on that Gav!)

So, yesterday I got to confirm Claudia and Milagros in Sacrament. It was so awesome! They both told us that they felt something different and comforting during all the meetings the rest of the day. It pleases me to see their testimonies growing so much already. She's been reading the Book of Mormon again. She read the whole thing in like a month. It was awesome. She has smoked ever since she was 8 and now she's 27. She dropped it like nothing for her baptism. We are going to find her sister and family now this week. We also should be baptizing for sure this transfer. We have a members girlfriend who has been coming to Church for the past 5 Sunday's. Her mom is a member who has been re activated as well. We're finally being able to teach her this week, on Wednesday with a member which is no easy thing since we hardly have any members here. But now, we just found out that zone conference has been changed and we have to travel up to La Plata on Wednesday at 5 AM and won't get back until 9ish. We're going to have to figure something out though because we need to teach her. We're super excited to be blessed with more baptisms here in San Clemente, in this "ramita" (little branch). I love the Coast!

This last week rained so hard. Yesterday we were in like a hurricane, I swear. It was gnarly. I loved it! We were soaked! My new comp is pretty cool. I like the kid. He's from Chile. His name is Elder Conuenir. My last name is easier for the people to say than his, which is kinda sweet since I'm from the states and all. They call him Noquis and me Arroz. We're pretty much just food to them! ha. I'm sending a bunch of pics home. Like tons! I went and bought another card reader cause I had lost mine and of course, the next day I find the one I lost. But now, I can be prepared like an Eagle Scout should be. jk...mom is the Eagle Scout. Two timer even right Cam?

Things are going well on the coast. It's starting to get really hot and the humidity is a killer. I had the best shower the other day with like a wide stream of water! It was awesome! Things are lookin up. People say that once school is out in mid December, the people just start filling in San Clemente. It's gonna be sweet. More people...which means contacting new people to teach...sweeeet!

Did I mention that Elder Bednar was awesome! I learned a lot. Oh, and I love our family! Laynie and Troy are so big and so cute and happy! You guys are awesome! Thanks for the pics! I'm so thankful for our my family and for my testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and that you all have testimonies as well. Did I mention that I love my family?!
Amenme,
G love and that special sauce







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"Toadally Happy"




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