Monday, February 22, 2010

Rain rain, go away...

Hey family,
Wow...what a crazy week it's been. I have so much to say so we'll just see how much I can get out! It's hard trying to remember everything. First of all, I love hearing about all of the blessings that our family has received. I'd like to add to those. We are teaching the Gospel to people that are actually progressing!!! I forgot what that was like. It's amazing! I can't tell you how much better that makes the mission experience. I couldn't imagine being on a mission in a place where people just say "no" every stinkin' day. We had some sweet lessons this week. Really spiritual and I feel like we are really teaching with love and authority. We're not beating around the bush. I don't know why, but I feel so confident teaching our investigators and I already have so much love for them. I want to do everything I can so that they progress. We have a FAMILY fyi! I can't wait to baptize a complete family! I've been waiting for that my whole mission. Finally, a spouse that wants to progress. It's amazing! They went to Church this last week, fortunado (fortunately). He and his wife Adrian. They have two little girls that loved the church as well. Also, another family showed up that we didn't even think would ever come. A mom and her daughters. We need "sacerdotes" (priesthood holders) here though. 5 more and we'll be a ward. I came back to a rama (branch) but it's okay because there are actually more than 5 members! My area is so not convenient. We have to walk like 5 blocks just to the nearest chino market. It's like a 30 minute bus ride into Varela. The streets are all dirt. It kind of reminds me of El Jaguel, but only with less people. Not the best lookin' place, but I LOVE it! We got caught up in the biggest rain storm ever this last week and then again today. I'm shivering right now. I'm soaked! We played soccer today for P Day and an Elder Nalder, poor kid, broke his ankle. It was so nasty. The bone was almost coming out of the skin. I guess we probably should'nt have been playing soccer in the pouring rain but it's hard just watching a P day go by without doing anything. Plus, it was fun until that happened. The A P's had to come and get him because ambulances here, well, we're in Argentina. He was tough though...didn't even cry.

So, anyways, oh yeah, Angela and her daughter Beatriz are amazing and are going to get baptized this transfer. We had such a great lesson with them. They love the Church. She said at the start that she likes everything about it except baptism. But, by the end of our conversation, she agreed to pray and ask if she should get baptized. She didn't come to Church though, probably because of the roads. My shoes just collect so much mud. I feel like I walk around with bricks strapped on my feet. Plus, I have some gnarly holes that just get filled up with rocks and mud. Oh, by the way, my other SD card with over 1,000 fotos on it is jacked as well. So pray that some computer geek can fix it because if not, I'll lose fotos from the whole mission.

Elder Taoaelli is training a kid from Utah. He's the funniest kid ever. I've never heard a kid complain so much in my life, but it's all in fun. He makes me laugh so hard. He's just a funny kid. My comp is cool too. He's so humble, which is nice. And, he's super fresh, only on his second transfer so he's got a bunch of faith and stuff. It's funny because even though he's from South America, he doesn't understand a lot because of all the slang that is spoken here. He always asks me "what"? I've had a lot of compliments from this branch about my speaking. Some guy asked if I was Argentine on Sunday. But, I'm sure he just says that to every elder. I already had to talk in Sacrament meeting on mission work. It was cool because Lucas Gonzalez, (crazy eyes) served as a mini missionary here with Elder Bravo two transfers ago. He was from the family in Solano that we re-activated. So, I was able to share that story and talk about how much the members really do help us in the work.

So, things are going well as of now. We're doing good. Happy. Working hard and TEACHING people! I'll keep you guys in my prayers. I'll try and send some pics but last week it wouldn't let me.
Well anyways, Chaucito, hasta la proxima!
Elder Rice

P.S. I can't wait to go to your new branch mom and dad and help you guys out there. That's not for a long time, but boy am I already excited! It's going to be great! I love the Church, and Spanish and my family!

Some very good Peruvian food

San Juan Argentina

My last baptism. Hermana Juana Caballo de Toranzo was baptized the day I left. When we first taught her, she loved our message and felt it was true but thought that she was too old to be baptized. Then one night, she had a dream about her deceased son. He was dressed in white and told her that it was true. She no longer doubted and was baptized for me right before I got on the bus for my 10 hour ride back to the mission home. We wrote often after the mission, but she has since passed away. I will always remember her and her love and kindness.

The church house in San Juan. It felt like home! I bore my testimony here before heading home. I told the Argentine people that I owed them far more than I had been able to give to them. They gave me their hearts, their trust, their love. They gave me a foundation for a better life. After bearing my testimony, the members all started singing, "Para siempre Dios este' con vos" (God be with you 'til we meet again.) I realized just how much I had grown to love my Argentine friends!

Leaving Cordoba for the last time with President and Hermana Righi our mission President and wife. They were from Rosario. She has since passed away. Pres. Righi wasn't quite sure what to do with the North American sister missionaries in the beginning, :) but we ended up learning a lot from each other. I think he threw up his hands many times at our "strange" ways! One of my first meetings with him, I proudly announced that I was pregnant! Turns out the Spanish word for being embarrassed is NOT embarasada! :) I about gave him a heart attack!
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More mission pics from Venna Cordoba, Argentina 1975-77

What a find! I didn't have many pics from my mission because of the odd Kodak camera I ended up taking with me. It had a film cartridge that was impossible to find in Argentina. So you can imagine my surprise when I happened upon these slides. They're hard to see but at least it's more of a record of my mission experience. I will treasure these! My comp was Hermana Cheverrchia from Rosario. She was my last comp before heading home.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Florencia Varela

Well, it's transfer day and I'm going, going, back, back to Flore, Flore...Florencia Varela. I'm going to be in the same zone I was in when I started the mission. My area is called El Parque. I'll be with a 26 year old comp from El Salvador who is going on his second transfer. He seems like a pretty good guy. Doesn't like soccer though. That's gonna make things weird. Cool story though, well, it's not a story it's a fact. I'll be sharing the same branch with Elder Taoaelli. (A friend from Utah). Our district will consist of just us 4. It's gonna be great! Last night we traveled from 4:30 'til 11 to get here. The air is heavy and stinks and it's very hot up here. I'm already missin' the coast. But, it's good coming back and seeing everyone again. Hermana Asay made enchiladas. It was amazing. And...I had French Toast for breakfast. I wish I could just live in the mission home. That mattress was amazing. If only I could have slept in. That would have been choice! I miss that. It's weird now that I'm back with all the missionaries. I don't even know hardly any of them. There are so many Americans. It's nuts! The limit for a mission is 180 missionaries and we have 200. It will be great to reconnect with everyone and get to know the new ones.

Well, happy Valentine's Day and happy missionary day mom and dad. (We just finished training for the SLC inner city mission.) That's pretty sweet that you guys will be helping people with all that good stuff. Maybe when I get back you'll have something set up for me to help with. I liked what you said about reading our patriarchal blessings. (1. Read it through once forgetting the words but concentrating on the love the Lord has for you. 2. Read it again and write down all your talents and spiritual gifts. 3. Read it again and look for the instructions. Pray about it so you can find out who you are. This was a challenge we were given and have given to our kids.)I'm going to do this. It's weird how every time I read it, well not every time, I'm not going to lie, but a lot of times, I read it and think, "hey, why didn't I realize that before." I think there is a lot more depth to it than we think. And it's personal scripture, more real than we think.

So, I'll be in a 2 man pench I guess but we live across the hall from the other Elders, Taoaelli and his hijo. He's training. It'll be great. I'm replacing Elder Bravo from Neuquen Argentina. I lived with him in Solano. He's a stud. Mom, get all your Spanish back so when I get home we can talk. Last time I was here in Florencia Varela, I didn't understand all the Argentina slang, so it'll be fun to understand this time. Taoelli's native comp didn't believe me that I was American. I guess that's what happens when you live 24/7 with natives. Well, I hope you guys have a great week and enjoy the snow. I'll keep you all in my prayers. Q les vaya bien. P.S. Big D, if you get bored, practice your Spanish by writing me. (hint hint). In Spanish of course! Well, until next week I guess. Read, pray and go to Church.
Love, Gavin
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Hasta Luego San Clemente...

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Happy Valentine's Day

It doesn't get any sweeter than this. All she needs is her sidekick Troy to make it complete!

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Big D and Veener...Called to serve SLC Inner City Mission Spanish Speaking

Gavin, we were so jealous of your name tag, we just had to get one of our own! We will share in the work of our loving Heavenly Father for his children here, you take care of the ones there!

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Hay demasiado laburo...para la gente (Too much work for the people)

So, yesterday was amazing. Members came to visit us in San Clemente, which is super normal, most of the attendance includes people on vacations, but yesterday was amazing. The Second Counselor from Aldo Bonzi came with his wife and other members from that ward. And "that ward" is the ward of Jill. It was awesome to read scriptures with them and to hear of her success in BAW.

Today we went all the way to Pinemar for our zone activity and played soccer and volleyball. It was kinda cool. It's a long two and a half hour trip there and back. We had like a couple hours to play is all, but that was the first zone activity I've had the whole time I've been here on the coast. So, we had to go. In the morning on the way we didn't have seats. We just stood the whole time. It was a really nice "micro" (bus) with way cold AC. I was so dead tired. The Elders from Dolores came and stayed the night and are staying here again tonight because we have district meeting together tomorrow morning as a zone. We travel so much on the coast. It burns a big hole in the pocket, and noone feeds us because there aren't very many members. The end of the month is always brutal. By the way, other members from Buenos Aires came and actually did feed us. It was awesome! A way cool family. I wish they lived here in San Clemente. He made us pizza and instead of crust or whatever, it was chicken and meat. They make everything into pizza down here but it was good. I'm losing my mind, I don't know if that was this week or last week, but whatever. Oh, and I made cheese cake from a little packet thing this week to break the family fast after eating Mongolian Beef. Me and my comp are basically chefs now after cooking every single day and having Peruvians in our zone telling us how to make delectable dishes :) Tonight, we're going to split us with the Dolores Elders. We have a Noche de Hogar (FHE) with a member family who's bringing a family to come listen. Re piola no? (Cool, right?)

Freak, this week it rained so dang hard the streets were flooded!!! The terminal where all the micros (buses) come in was shut down because the buses were getting stuck in the huge, wet puddles because of the sandy streets. It was rad though. It gets chilly on some nights, kinda like a Lake Powell thing going on with the Mar (sea) being so close, which is so nice. I'm pretty sure I'm heading back to the "real" mission next week at transfers. We'll see what happens, but I'm almost 99% sure. But then, when have I ever been right about transfers?! But seriously. Me voy. (I'm going). I'll be excited to see friends like Schupple and Velasquz. I miss those fools! I miss you guys. Hope things are going well. I don't have time to read everyone's emails, but I love you and hope that things work out well with the family fast. I think we should do that on a regular basis, esp. with Big D and Veener being missionaries too now and all. (Trying to out do me or something)? This will make my second transfer without a baptism. That blows, but man is the work hard right now on the coast. Everyone's strugglin...stupid Satan! But, I'm happy so no worries. Hopefully the Valentines dude comes and visits you. Is there even a dude that is supposed to come or is mom just super nice and buys us a gift and puts it on the door step, rings the door bell and runs in the garage? Did I say "mom"? I meant some "anonymous" person. I'll miss out on that this year, but I have received more than I deserve in packages and shhhtuff. But, I love you all and hope you're reading and praying and of course going to church. Obvio! Remember, it's like a golf swing. If your grip, stance, or posture get off. Fuiste! Your swings jacked. We think we're doing something crazy weird, but it's all in the basics. Without them, we get thrown off course. Well, I'll keep praying for you guys. But alright, I got to bounce. Me tengo que ir. Hay familias que me estan esperando. Espero...les amo mucho. Que les vaya muy bien esta semana. (I have to go. There are families waiting for me. I hope. I love you alot. Have a great week.)

P.S. March madness is coming up next month. That makes me "trunkier" than Christmas, but anyways, I'm already thinkin' of a family fast for the Cougs! Dale! (What do you say?) I know Grandma Whetman has already agreed with me!

Love your son, or brother, or brother in law, or friend o como sea (or whatever)
P Day in Pinemar. Nothing like a little soccer and volleyball, not to mention a 2 1/2 hour bus ride to do such activities to wear you out!

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My friend Riquilme, the dog...he looks mean when he walks towards us but he actually smiles. He loves us! Glad somebody does! (We love you Gav)!

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Cheese Cake I made after Dia de Ayunar (Fast Sunday) was dang good!

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La Familias Diaz y Nunez from Aldo Bonzi, member's in Jill's ward.

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A couple of the streets that were flooded, but not nearly as bad as the "sandy" streets!

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The familia Reyes with the cutest little girl. This is the family from Buenos Aires in Capital who fed us. Gracias familia Reyes para cuindando mi hijo, Elder Arroz!

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Older pics with newer news...

Hey Family,
So, we'll start with the good news. This last weekend some guys came and worked on fixing our water problems. They changed out the whole tank. The old one was so nasty! The bottom was so bad that I can't believe we're still alive for using that water! We have a plastic water tank now that's huge! The last one was cement...and just way, way nasty. All the pipes were way dirty and plugged up from all the dirty ness so the guy has to come back and clean them out tomorrow. He gave us a good thought though...if we want to relate this to the gospel, which we do. He said that sometimes we have to suffer for a little bit to feel the blessings after. He was talking about water, but we could use that in our lives relating it to the Gospel and our trials. So, there ya go, but now we do have water which makes life that much easier. I was dying without showering. We did intercombios with the Zone Leaders this last week so I took full advantage of using their shower. It's so weird to take a shower with water pressure. It's amazing! The little things we take for granted, no?! But, anyways, the Fitch's brought the mail down for us. They drove all the way down here just to give us our mail. They're amazing! Yes mom, I got your package and that envelope you sent me for Valentine's Day, which I believe is this month sometime. But thanks so much. I loved the pictures of Troy and Laynie and of you guys. They've grown up so much since last year. I'm praying for Troy. He's so awesome! Laynie is freakin cute. I can't wait until she brings me candy from the candy drawer to give to her. She's funny. I can totally tell. I can see it in her eyes.

I'll be happy to fast this week with our family for Fast Sunday. I wish I could go to the Temple as well, even if it was here in Buenos Aires. But as you know, that's impossible since it's closed for remodeling. I can't wait to go through the Temple again. Too bad it won't happen during the mission though. We used to go once every 4 transfers, but oh well. I'll have like a billion Temples to go to when I get back. We're so lucky and blessed to live in Utah with water and good water pressure...oh yeah, and being surrounded by Temples!

To answer your question mom, no Elder Zivic was not here for Church this week. He left last Thursday. It was so cool to meet him. And our recent converts...well Yanina is doing awesome and super active as is her mom who was re activated. Claudia and Milagros are doing alright. She came to Church yesterday which was a surprise because she's been working 24/7 and can't come to Church. She used to come to Sacrament and then bounce but she hasn't even been doing that until yesterday. We have a cita with her tomorrow so we'll see what's up. Supposedly she smoked again. (Chismes (gossip) from members) but I sure hope not. Her daughter is awesome. She used to come without her mom but has faulted the last couple of weeks until yesterday.

Well, I love you all and love hearing from you. Thanks for the support and emails. You said you wanted me to be specific to ask for things to fast for...I'm doing just fine. Fast for the family. Just keep me in your prayers like I do for you guys.

P.S. Here are some ancient pics from the Christmas party slash baptism slash cualquiera...(whatever).
Disfrutensenlas (Enjoy)!
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Santa's sleigh...

This is how Santa delivers presents to good little missionaries serving down on the coast! I actually see my package to Gavin in there!
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Christmas party in San Clemente