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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

December 28, 2010 Transfer to Capital

okay, I don´t know how much I am going to write, because I got transfered and I am too excited to focus... becuase right now I am in Capital, an area called Juncal. And what`s more, I am with my trainer, Elder Nelson again. I guess I turned out to be such a failure of a missionary that they decided to retrain me. But seriously, I don`t know what`s going to happen because he is going to train again, but his companion doesn`t come until thursday for some reason, so I don´t know if I`m going to stay here with him as a threesome, or if I am going to be sent to another zone. So yeah, I only got ten minutes left to write my letter to Presidente Gulbrandsen because we`ve been talking a lot... so I`ll write more next week when I know for sure (moreso than ahora) what will be happening. Love you, Sorry for wasting time, please forgive me. I`ve got funny pictures to send next week!

Con Amor,
Elder Arrowchis

Monday, December 20, 2010

December 20, 2010 Changing Attitude

Thanks for keeping up on my stuff.  and wow, I didn´t realize that I am waking up at 6:30 when you are probably going to sleep at 12:30 (or watching lost/office).  My dad will be calling at 11 your time and you will call at 11:40.  Ten minutes in between because I don´t know exactly the minute difference and just in case I run over or it doesn´t go through I have some time to wait for the call, get some water, do some push ups, wipe the sweat and tears and get refocused... and just for my worrying doubts that something could go wrong and I´d miss your call. If I get my Christmas package this transfer it will be on Friday, because we have a "special devotional" at the president´s house (La Hermana Gulbrandsen slipped fiesta). And if I were to say how I´m doing it would be challenging. I still maintain that this is the most challengin thing I have ever done in my life, mostly because my success depends on my attitude and focus. It´s basically a crash course in consistent repentance when you are repenting everyday for not meeting your goals and promising you will plan better to meet them the next day. There are more ups and downs in a day than at West Point, if you can imagine that! That´s a bummer that Cari´s camera got stolen, luckily that hasn´t happened to me yet, probably because the Lord knows I would do something stupid (we´re not supposed to resist) and get myself or my companion hurt :/. But I´m still good, we tried making cookies this week and we played fútbol with other Elderes. Also, I´m excited to see the puzzle because if you two are still acting like I think I know you, you might get around to starting it in a year and a half, or by the time I get home!
Spiritual stories for the week: The week was a long one, but yesterday we had some miracles. I started changing my attitude yesterday and just thinking with all my mind that things specifically are going to turn out good, and I think it works. We did a contact and the person told us he didn´t believe in anything. So I started thinking that he will accept to listen to us and then my companion managed to talk to him until he seemed happy to talk to us and although he had to leave and work he said goodbye very warmly and gave us his number to try and arrange a time to meet. We also did another contact who started out very sternly saying that he was a different religion. So I thought he will accept (along those lines) and he ended up letting us in and we taught him and his family and friends and he said that although he didn´t believe in the Book of Mormon he accepted to read it and two of his friends said they will read it and pray about it. The same sort of thing happened when a member went out with us later and we taught an old investigator family. So yeah, it sounds kind of cocky and arrogant, but until the Lord "humbles" me for it I´m going to continue testing it to see if that attitude change has a difference.

Other than that I can´t think of very many other stories and my time is almost out. HOpe you enjoy the pictures at least, and hopefully I have somewhat of an accent on Saturday.

Con Amor,
Tu hijo Elder Arrowchis

Monday, December 13, 2010

December 13, 2010 Small Miracles

Okay so first things first, why did peanut brittle not come to mind?!?!? [food missed]  I also realized that I miss cheese enchiladas and cinnamon (I´ve completely forgotten how to spell that) buns. Also, it´s always fun to receive ingredients for making s´mores i.e. graham crackers, marshmellows, hershey´s chocolate. Also, I don´t really have any pictures of outside Argentina because I don´t really want somebody to see me and rob me, but there´s an extremely funny sign here that I want to take a picture of so maybe some morning we´ll run for exercise to take pictures. [to Jordan]--That kid isn´t writing me back! He might not realize it right now, but his success largely depends on going to church and reading scriptures everyday. I´m just saying, playing computer games until 2 in the morning will not help him in anything. Now I am kicking myself for all the time I have spent playing video games, it really hasn´t done anything for me. I can´t think of one way that playing computer games has helped me... no, I could have been better at the piano, or soccer, or something! Anyway, the mission will be a huge shock for him, don´t worry ;D . Tell him if he wants it to be a softer transition with more success in the beginning he will put more time into taking care of himself and reading the scriptures. Tell him we study for 3 hours in the morning before leaving to walk all day, and that in the MTC it's for basically the whole day studying the gospel/language.

Right so spiritual experiences. I can´t think of too many, maybe as I´m writing, but there were some funny stories and even several miracles (apart from watching people´s countenance change as we taught them). First, I met a real live ninja. At first I just took him for a drunk but then as we contacted his house he told us how he had to go to the police station one time for "self defense". Supposedly he was walking under the bridge and two robbers came up and stuck a revolver in his face telling him to give them his money. So as he casually reached for his pocket he did a striking block with his left hand and spun into a right elbow to the face! Then the other robber started to run away so he started unloading with his 20 shuriken ninja stars that he happened to be carrying. To prove he teaches kung fu he showed us the tattoo on his leg of the chinese characters for kung fu, but even though I don´t really remember anything from Chinese I have a suspicion that he got the wrong symbols...

Then another day as we were walking from the church we contacted a man who turned out to be pentecostal. He didn´t want to listen and insisted we were teaching doctrine of men and so then gave us a pentecostal blessing right there in the street to help us start following God. It was interesting. Then on Saturday we were walking and it started to rain out of nowhere (in other words we were in short sleeves without umbrellas). Luckily we were contacting a reference and he invited us into his house, even though it was the house of his relatives and during the birthday party of their son. They weren´t too attentive but let us talk until the rain slowed down. So then we left and were blessed to miss the worst part of the storm. Next miracle for that day, as we left we had to cross the street but couldn´t because of the flood that the rain caused. We could have walked across, but my shoes are dying right now and I did not really want to get them soaked. Then out of nowhere came a guy on a motorcycle and ferried us across to the otherside where there was no water in the street. That was literally a miracle. Then as we were walking more towards our appointment we witnessed another miracle. We came to another part where we couldn´t cross for the water in the street so as we were standing there waiting for my desires to spare my shoes run out, a couple was leaving their house and called to us. We talked with them and it turned out that they were listening to missionaries a while ago but the missionaries stopped going by and so we organized when we could pass by again and when we finished the water had receded from the street enough for me to leap frog across and not get my shoes soaked! Three miracles in one day. Apart from that we are still struggling to find more people to teach in a day.

So about Christmas. I will write more later today or during the week when we manage to get the phone number of the church because you are going to call me. First I am going to talk with my dad around 5 pm my time (I think 1 your time) and then I will finish talking with him at 5:30. Then you can call me at 5:40 (I think 1:40) and I will talk with you until 6:10, and then I go back to work for the next 5 months! But I will send another email before next week certifying the times and with the phone number where you will call me. Muchísimas gracias por toda tu ayuda con esas cosas, estoy disfrutando mi misión más por tu sacrificio a cuidarme. Gracias mamá y Matt, y les amo tanto. Yo sé que voz sos mi mamá por una razón y fue una bendición para mi. Chao Chao.

Con Amor,
Elder Arrowchis

Sunday, December 12, 2010

El Talar Pics

Mario's Baptism in El Talar

Mi tercer compañero de Missouri, USA
[Elder Blanch]

Grandpa Arrowchis, how did he get on a pamphlet?

December 6, 2010 Baptism

Believe it or not we had a baptism. His name is Mario and he was basically ready to be baptized when I got here in El Talar, but he only lacked the approval of his mom. He is 20 years old but he wanted her blessing since he still lives with her, but she came around after he bore his testimony to her and she agreed. Hope you enjoy the pictures. I´ll try sending some more as long as they go through. The baptism was great even though I didn´t really know him. He said that when he has kids he´s going to make sure that they know going on a mission is expected of them.

Con Amor,
Elder Arrowchis

November 29, 2010 Snare Drums and a Whistle

Bueno, I´m glad that Jordan managed to make it back [to BYU], and I can believe that he wouldn´t want to waste the money of Uncle Ed to get something to eat. But ha! That´s funny, no food for 12 hours, ja ja ja ja ja. I´ll send more pictures next week, but I don´t know if I have one with me and Argentina in the background, so I´ll have to take one. Besides, it´s not terribly different from California. Today I am going to go get a haircut and we are going to cook chorizos and eat choripan for lunch (French Roll sandwhich with suasage inside).

Weird, I kept wanting to write the spanish words for that sentence...if you haven´t noticed my spelling is worsening, because guess what in Spanish everything is spelled like it sounds! And each vowel only has ONE sound! I´m also trying to work on my accent to sound more latino, so hopefully when I call in 4 weeks you´ll notice a difference :D Also something more about my area, there´s a group of kids that get together in the afternoon with base and snare drums and a whistle, and they just beat their drums and play for hours. It´s so cool because I´ve never seen a bando gang before, especially not here! People watch and other kids bring their drums and join in too! It´s awesome.

Spiritual experiences for the week:

On Friday we were walking all day and didn´t find anybody. Nobody was home and nobody in the street wanted to give us their address to pass by later. Then at the end of the day when we were dejected and without plans we were going to head to the church to use the bathroom and Elder Blanch did one more contact. There was a mom and her brother and they immediately said they´d listen. We taught them and found out that the mom had been listening to missionaries when she was in high school with her friend and her brother started the lesson not believing that God answers prayers and ended saying he would pray and be baptized. It was a miracle to encounter them and see his faith change. Then we left with some time and still no more plans when we did another contact and the man accepted to listen. We taught him and his girlfriend for 15 minutes and they seemed interested. The night ended after that so we went home.

Another miracle. Yesterday we weren´t encountering too many people until we passed by a contact´s house. He wasn´t there but his mom was outside and she said she would listen. We needed a man 18 years or older to be present to teach her, so we went to a member´s house and he just happened to be there and ready to leave. So we returned in 5 minutes with the member and started teaching her. She told us that she has been dealing with depression her whole life and that a year ago her husband died and she doesn´t feel the energy or enthusiasm of living.  She also said that her brother is a bishop in Tucuman (Province in Argentina) and that he gave her a book of mormon recently and told her to talk to missionaries whenever she saw them and her other brother served a mission. It was an amazing spiritual lesson about the plan of salvation and she and her two daughters said that they would be baptized in the beginning of January. She also asked if it was possible that her brothers were praying for her. Chao, no more time.

Con Amor,
Elder Arrowchis

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Grandpa Arrowchis (in picture) is famous in Argentina, everybody has that pamphlet!

Grand Bourg Pics

A rainy day in Grand Bourg

Elder Arrowchis & Elder Nelson, gangstas in pilotos

Mi segundo compañero de Salta, Argentina
Elder Torres]

November 22, 2010 Mapping El Talar

So Jordan is finally going to make a big trip [home], all by himself. My little brother is growing up, sniff. Anyway, I´ll be sure to pray for him tonight and tomorrow. I can´t even imagine a vacation right now... ever since I changed areas I have increasingly grown tired and worn down. But that´s probably just due to the extreme change. I kind of feel like I did when I first arrived here! El Talar is very near to Grand Bourg (we´d pass through whenever we´d go to the offices in San Fernando) and my area is a little bit smaller than in Grand Bourg. I met the members on Sunday and am struggling to remember names but hopefully that will come in time. I also did not have the chance to go to the baptism [in Grand Bourg] neither have I heard if they were baptized or if there was a delay, but with Elder Torres I am confident that he got the job done.

Spiritual experiences for the week, it has been interesting because we don´t have many investigators right now, only about 3 or 4, so we have been doing a lot of contacts. I still have no idea how to do them but I can go up and start talking, so I´m doing something. In the beginning of the week I encountered a question that I never encountered in Grand Bourg, and that´s when they say "I´ve already been baptized." Right now I´m studying how to answer that.

This weekend we started having success though. We contacted one person outside of an electronics shop and he immediately invited us in. So we went in and in between customers we explained a little bit about the Book of Mormon and why we are on a mission. He said he loves to read and will read the Book of Mormon. So that was a relief to finally find someone willing to at least read it! We also had another contact who said we could talk as long as his wife didn´t mind. He said she was religious and so we were unsure if we would be able to talk but she said we could talk with her husband. We invited her to listen also and she accepted and we taught prophets and the restoration to them. She seemed to like what we were teaching and accepted to be baptized if she received an answer to her prayer. Her son and his girlfriend (I think?) started listening at the end and they seemed interested as well. We also started having more success with contacts accepting to listen to us so now we have more names to pass by. Definitely a test of perserverance.

We are also working on constructing a big map of our area to put on the wall. We are then going to take all the old investigator records and order them with numbers and then put píns in the map with their corresponding numbers written on them. Hopefully this will help us plan more efficiently and to find more new investigators during our time here. I´ve already bought a tourist guide and now we just need to make photocopies and then glue them together and pin it up. Well the pictures have almost all finished so I´ll wrap it up and write more next week.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

November 16, 2010 Transfer to El Talar

Okay, so I finally received my package from you! Well packages, three of them. I think this internet café might be safer than the one in Grand Bourg so I´ll see about sending pictures next week. Oh yeah duh, I transfered... I am no longer in Grand Bourg :'( I am now in El Talar with Elder Blanch. He was born in Florida, lived in Missouri, went to BYU-I and has only 3 months left in his mission. So in other words, if we are together two transfers I will send him home. It´s still kind of weird being in a different area with a new companion because it only feels like divisions and not like I´m here for 6+ weeks. He also has 6 brothers and sisters. He likes to fish, shoot guns, camp, cave explore, and hang out with his family. I´ll share more when I find out more. That´s so cool that Graham finally gave a talk in Sacrament meeting. I finally got his letter and I think today I am going to respond to everyone because just last week I got the letters from everyone.

Elder Torres [former mission companion] is going to train a new missionary and that missionary is very lucky, because we spent the last 3 weeks preparing two baptisms for him this coming Saturday. I do feel glad that he is going to start his mission with that though. It´s weird, I had my interview with the President yesterday and he said that I´ve matured 3 years since our last interview 4 months ago. I can also understand better and speak more. That 6 weeks with Elder Torres really helped, especially with my accent because he taught me what I need to practice in order to start talking like a Latino. Did you know they have gnochis here? Se llama ñioquis and many people make them from scratch. I also got a de diez bread reciped from Elder Torres before I left and helped him make it, so I´m going to want to make that too. Also, how much does the cat weigh in Kilograms? Just so I can tell people here. Thanks also for the photos of the new house, it feels very weird now, all my friends at West Point are about to leave, you changed houses, and now I´m in a new area. I feel like I don´t have a home! But only for now because soon I´ll become acustomed to this place and it will feel like home. I realized that yesterday, that Grand Bourg became my home.

Right now "We Are the Champions" is playing [in the Internet Cafe] but with Castellano singers that sounds like they are drunk. I will forever be scarred.

Anyway, this last week we had an experience with our magician investigator. He said that he´s never before thought about life after this neither where we came from and has always just lived in the moment. When we started talking about that he got a little more serious so obviously we planted a seed and hopefully that will start pecking at him. He also prayed with us the first time. Before he would say that he prefers us to pray, but he did it this last time and it was great! We also had a lesson with another one of our investigators and we taught them the law of chastity and told them that they need to get married. They didn´t object and the man seemed really excited about it actually especially when we started talking a little bit about the temple marriage. Here´s a miracle to prove that Heavenly Father blesses and guides us. When I was doing divisions with an Elder from Pablo Nogues in my area, I did a contact with a man and invited him to church. I didn´t think anything of it but come Sunday there he was. He showed up and actually liked it and we invited him back. There goes to show that the Lord knows when to put people in our path.

Well my time is about up, but thanks for all the letters and packages, they were awesome, especially to share with my Argentinian companion (he loved the reeses and the gold fish). Thanks for keeping track of my gmail account, my credit card, and my facebook/blog. Love you and will write more next week!

Con Amor,
Elder Arrowchis

November 16, 2010 Advice to Brother

It´s good that you like the rain and snow, for now, because you´re going to get a lot of it! I like it when it rains too because it cools down the day, but only if I have my jacket on. There have been a couple of times when we were walking and it started to rain and we were just wearing white shirts. Yeah, como se dice ¿completely soaked? So you´ve been able to experience college for real now, how interesting. You´ll have to tell me more about it because I never had that experience xP. At West Point I loved midterms and finals week because we got absolutely no homework and only had to take tests. Como se dice ¿Movies every night?
I am learning a ton here in my mission. I just changed areas, so I´ve finally left my first area, que triste. Now I am in an area called El Talar. My new companion´s name is Elder Blanch. If you read my blog you´ll see everything that I am experiencing too. But I actually haven´t baptized anyone yet. Yesterday in my old area we prepared two people for baptism and they are going to be baptized this weekend, but I´m not going to be there! I knew that would happen, but I also know that I will always appreciate my mission even if I never baptize anyone. I´m not going to lie, prepare yourself starting now(!) because the mission has been the hardest thing I have done in my whole life (yes, including West Point). Hope you are reading your scriptures everyday, going to church, and saying your prayers. Those three things will help you so much spiritually. Of the less active and inactive members we go to see, their spiritual decline always starts when they stop doing one of those three things. Read my blog, go on dates, don´t get a girlfriend, dance it up, and enjoy your time.

Love ya - Elder Arrowchis

Friday, November 12, 2010

November 8, 2010 6-Month Mark

I have been thinking about hitting my 6 month mark this week and yes, it is hard to believe. Even though every other missionary tells me that 6 months is nothing, I can´t believe that a quater of my mission is already spent. Leaves me feeling kind of empty like "oh no, what have I done with my time?" Anyway, today we are going to go play fútbol, again, with our district and eat hamburgers from a restauant. They are only about 2 dollars each but are the size of a 10 dollar hamburger from a restaurant and taste delicious. Last week we went to a place called Pizza Libre where you pay 18 pesos and the waitresses come around and serve you different types of pizza, like Agora, but pizza. I ate anchovies, boiled eggs, suasage, blue cheese, ham, and napolitana (ham with slices of tomates). I probably ate other types, but I can´t remember. One more thing I forgot to mention, I¨m in the Argentinian Census 2010! They came to our house last Wednesday and asked some questions about where I was born and the condition of our apartment. So yeah, for the next ten years I´m recorded in Argentina.

Last Friday we were walking at night without coats or sweaters because it was warm during the day and it started to rain. I don´t mean rain like California, or even like in the shower. I mean it felt like somebody was pouring a bucket on top of us for 20, 30 minutes straight. It was definitely humbling, and brought back feelings and memories from West Point. This Sunday 3 of our investigators showed up at church and 2 stayed for all three hours. One of them has been having family home evening with us and a member family for the past 2 weeks and is really excited about the church and wants to get baptized and agrees with everything so far. The other one we met a couple of weeks ago because we contacted her son in the street. Her husband left her and her daughter and son about 6 months ago and she has been suffering ever since. Before Sunday this week we had a lesson with her and she told us that the night before she read the Book of Mormon and then prayed and felt a peace that she hasn´t felt since her husband left. She said that she also slept the whole night and woke up feeling rested.

We have also been working on entering people´s houses as we contact them and not just saying we will stop by later. It has been working a bit and we entered one apartment type lot with several houses inside and talked with two men yesterday. They seemed excited about us coming back the next Sunday and are going to read the pamphlet of the gospel of Jesus Christ we gave them. I don´t think I mentioned it before, but we are also currently teaching a magician! He is really interested in what we talk about and is very open and honest, and says that he is reading and wants to read all of the Book of Mormon, but he still doesn´t have desires to come to church. One thing that I realized is that I really look forward to Sundays now. I pay attention in the classes and when I take the Sacrament I really do feel a relief. Yesterday we also started talking to an 18 year old kid in the street. He told us that as of 2 months ago he has been attending a pentacostal church but before that he was robbing, and doing drugs and drinking, and possibly he said killing people too. Now we´ve found him and he seemed pretty interested in hearing our message especially when we talked about the Atonement of Christ. It´s amazing how much some people have lived through compared to my leisurely life I´ve had.

I´m starting to understand more and more the people when I´m talking with them, but it´s still hard to do. I am also practicing with my companion how to talk like a native. It´s really hard to do because I never before realized how much I talk with my throat because Latinos talk more with their mouth and lips. How weird. That´s all I have for today, and Jesus the Christ is a really great book and I highly recomend it. I am currently reading where Christ is starting his last journey to Jerusalem to be crucified. Love you all and hope my prayers are being answered for you.

Con Amor,

Elder Arrowchis

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Planting a Seed

Happy Belated Birthday! So what did you eat at the restaurant? Did you write down the names of the meats, or at least the dishes? We eat quite a lot of mashed potatoes here, but it´s not exactly the same as in the United States. What else did you do for your birthday? Hmm, Christmas... I could use one or two more of those insoles (Pro Foot brand). I´m wearing through mine pretty fast. Other than that, maybe some sushi, enchiladas, and a cinnamon roll :p. Those are probably the foods I miss the most, and peanut butter, vanilla ice cream from Coldstone. Speaking of food, did Matt tell you that I requested how to cook fried rice? I tried once and it turned out terrible, edible, but terrible. I think I have to cook the rice first, and then throw it in a pan of if you could moogle it that would be nice :D!

Okay, since I didn´t write last week, here are the spiritual experiences for last week. I thought of an interesting way to look at gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon. To commit someone to be baptized we are now using the first paragraph and the last two paragraphs of the introduction of the Book of Mormon. The three things that it teaches us to do to gain a testimony is to read, meditate in our hearts, and then ask God if it is true. That can be compared to planting a seed. First, in order for a seed to grow you need to plant it, but you also need to plant it in soil that is fertile and ready to help a seed grow. Then, what does a seed need to grow? Sunlight, plenty of consistent time with the sun shining on it. Those two aspects are controlled by mother nature and don´t require much effort on our part. But the third aspect a seed needs in order to grow is water, and if we want a specific seed that we plant to grow, we need to put in the effort to water it. That is where our faith comes in, by believing that if we water that seed it will grow and bear good fruit.

We also have been teaching one investigator for several weeks now and he has gone to church two times. Last week we had the opportunity to teach his girlfriend too. We invited her to listen and we started teaching the first lesson again. The amazing part came when we started reading the introduction to the Book of Mormon. We read the part about asking God if it is true and then René asked if he could say something. Then he read Moroni 10:4 and related that to what we need to do and how we are going to receive our answer. I was amazed to realize that in that moment he receive revelation from the Spirit and that is how he knew what scripture to share. It´s amazing to see how the spirit can change people over time as they keep the commitments we give them.

Another day we went to an investigator´s house whose husband up and left her and her daughter without a reason. We went with a member from our church who used to be an Ancient in the Jehovah´s Witness church and it was amazing to first, see how well he knew the scriptures and also how well he could talk with the people. That lesson was amazing and I have grown in a testimony that if we use the members more we will have more success in finding people and in helping investigators progress towards baptism.

Last experience, we found a man who is living with his girlfriend and has a baby. We taught him once and the second time we went back he invited us in and offered us empanadas and was overjoyed to to listen to us more. He doesn´t understand much, actually he says he doesn´t understand anything, but he told us that he wants to improve himself and wants his child to grow up and do what we are doing and be like us. He is reading the pamphlet we gave him and now is going to start reading the Book of Mormon, even though he doesn´t understand anything. I can really feel the Lord´s love for him everytime we go over.

My time is just about up and thanks for all the letters I have received from you. Love you and think about you, occasionally :)

Con amor,
Elder Arrowchis

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October 18, 2010 Short and Sweet

Sorry, but responding will have to wait until next week.  Right now I have to go do splits with a member from the ward and then we are going to do more during the week, so hopefully this will help with the missionary effort in Grand Bourg!  Also, today we went and played soccer with our district and cooked sausages in the chapel.  It was fun, and I bought a photo album to keep track of all the alfajor wrapers I eat!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Elder Nelson and Elder Arrowchis in Buenos Aires North mission home.

October 12, 2010 Elder Torres

This week was pretty interesting. Like I said, I got a new companion Elder Torres and he is from Salta Argentina. He was baptized 3 years ago and is 25, so he just barely made the age cut to go on a mission. He has an older sister who is working as a nurse in Capital here in Buenos Aires, and two younger brothers. Before going on a mission he was working in a theatre as a dancer. He did ballet and got paid to do it. So that´s pretty cool. Right now I am helping him learn English because we were told to help our latin companions learn English on their missions. He speaks pretty well and even has pretty good pronunciation. I never realized how hard English is to learn, only because of the pronunciation.

I don´t know if you remember the talk by president Arnold during general conference (“you stupid cow”), but he´s our area president and so we had a zone conference with him yesterday. It was interesting and he even used the cow story a couple of times. It´s really amazing to see these leaders in the missionary world work. He told us a lot of things we need to change.

Later on that night we had a pretty cool spiritual experience too. We were walking and we passed by one man standing in his doorway, and even though my companion didn´t see him I saw that he was staring at us so I decided to go and contact him. At first he wasn´t receptive but finally Elder Torres asked if we could go in and he said yes. Then we were teaching him and during the lesson we asked him how he felt and he said uncomfortable. That´s not the usual response so I started to panic at what we were going to say next. Then Elder Torres realized and confirmed that he just felt uncomfortable because he grew up Catholic and so this information about Joseph Smith and a restoration were new. So then at the end we invited him to pray and we got down on our knees. He prayed and afterwards said again that he felt uncomfortable. But when we went to leave you could see that the lesson had an effect on him because there was just happiness and peace in his face. That was a pretty cool experience about how the gospel can change lives even if you don´t understand it right away. We are going to go again on Sunday, because he works the rest of the days so it was really a miracle too that we encountered him.

Well, I´m still feeling kind of light headed (from being sick) so I´m going to finish now. Chao.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October 3, 2010 General Conference

Alright, well I have 20 or so minutes to write, so cool. Yes, we went to a stake center to watch all of general conference, except for priesthood because that started at 9 pm our time and of course we had to be back in our apartment by then. I definitely liked how he was talking about the fundamentals when he lost his voice and said that was something fundamental, he needed to speak! And did you know, they don´t assign talks to the speakers in general conference. They just send them a letter saying "your have been asked to talk at this time for this long, and you will follow so-and-so." I didn´t know if you knew that, but I learned it from a talk Elder Bednar gave to missionaries about following the spirit. So really they are all inspired. I can definitely agree with what was said about video games, and even TV because I think of all the time spent on those and where has it gotten me? I´m not better at making friends and "hanging out" for it, and I could have spent that time practicing piano or fútbol or something that would last me longer. Yeah video games are fun, but in the end they take away from using this time on Earth for other things.

New news. I am still in Grand Bourg, but I have a new companion! My trainer went to Capital and I am here with Elder Torres. He already seems awesome, he talked with the cab driver for 40 minutes about the gospel while we went back to our area and now we are going to pass his name onto the missionaries who live in his area. Also, he is from Salta, Argentina. So I am going to help him learn English and he is going to vastly improve my Castellano. I´ll write more next week when I find out more!

Spiritual Experience for the week: I have learned that attitude changes everything! These past few weeks have been pretty harsh and hard to get through, only because we haven´t been finding many people or entering many houses to teach. Also, we´ve had no investigators in the church for awhile. But yesterday I just woke up and during studies decided that I was fed up with our low numbers so when we left that morning I just started doing contacts in the street. I talked to about 3 or 4 people just from 11 to 12 and we already started receiving references and contacting references, and we entered a house that Elder Nelson has been trying to enter for a long time and we had an excellent lesson and the investigator is interested in listening to us right now. He´s a mago and already understands faith from reading a book called El Secreto. In otherwords, we completed our daily goals, which honestly hasn´t happened a lot with us, and i believe a lot of it had to do with how my attitude changed and I was determined to do the things I should be doing, si o si. So now I will perservar hasta el fin and continue in this attitude. I just need to hang on to this desire to achieve our goals and I believe we will be blessed with more success.

I have to go now, but thanks for all the letters and notifications when somebody writes me.

Con Amor,
Elder Arrowchis

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

September 27, 2010 English & Rubiks Cube

We finally got around to teaching someone we met on the street a couple weeks ago and we started asking him inspired questions. He said that he was taught before by the missionaries but they stopped going by. We finally got around to asking him to be baptized and he accepted before we even finished asking the question. We told him a date but he said that he was going to be busy for a month, and then suggested a date to us. We are going to see him again tomorrow to talk about going to general conference but he is evidence that the Lord does prepare people for the missionaries to teach.

We also met another person on the street and when we passed by his house he was only going to listen to us outside, but we convinced him to let us in. We started teaching but I felt like we should ask questions about (I can´t remember what we asked), and after Elder Nelson asked what he thought the Lord was telling him after we explained the Holy Ghost and he said that the Lord was telling him that he should follow this path. ¡Que Capo! He even accepted to go talk to his boss at work about changing his schedule so that he could go to church on Sunday. They told him no way, but still, the fact that he showed that faith, we don´t meet too many people like that. I don´t know what we are going to do about his Sunday schedule but the Lord will prepare a way. I also noticed how cool it is when somebody listens to our message, the change in their countenance after the lesson is amazing. It is filled with love and happiness.

Our mission president demonstrated how to teach a lesson by only using questions. That way the investigator arrives at their own conclusion that our church is true. And how? Through the spirit of course! When we go to heaven to ask a question, the investigator has to go to heaven to answer it. Therefore the lesson goes from us teaching the investigator to the spirit teaching the investigator. It´s awesome! And incredibly hard...

This has been kind of a long week, and at the same time it flew by, and so I´m having trouble remembering everything that happened. The mission is good and everyday is a rollercoaster, more so than West Point, but I am learning a lot even in my trials. For instance, how much better my day is just by reading at least one chapter from the Book of Mormon a day.

Alright, living conditions. I took pictures of my pensión, but obviously haven´t sent them. An exbishop comes from another zone to do our laundry, so that is sweet only 18 pesos cada semana. A lot of the kids aren´t into computer games, but nearly everyone starts playing soccer from age 2, so even the 5 year old kids are better than me!

Before you send the package (hopefully) I would like you to go to my old institute class, in the adjacent building at the church above Saddleback, and get about 5-7 copies of the "Brother Greiner´s memorized scripture list". It´s front and back filled with scriptures and every missionary I meet wants one, so I want copies just in case they don´t give me the list back after they make a copy. Thanks for the love and support and I´ll go eat an alfajor for you. I now have the recipes for making alfajores and pasta frola!

Quote for the day (and it is so true ) "Missionaries learn two things here in La Gran Buenos Aires Norte Mision, English and how to do the Rubix Cube" - Elder Arrowchis

With love,
Elder Arrowchis

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September 20, 2010 Teaching with the Spirit

So, stories from this week. We had zone conference on Wednesday and we learned a lot. It was all about the doctrine of Christ, asking inspired questions and planning with the spirit. Before we would just teach all the principles and we would plan by filling up the agenda with investigators and references based on what area we were going to be in for that day. El presidente showed us an example of how to teach a lesson only by using questions!

If you read those scriptures I sent you will see that it is all over the Book of Mormon. So now we are trying to use more and more inspired questions to teach according to the persons needs, and then we teach the doctrine once they come to the conclusion that this church is true on their own. It is really cool and really powerful when it works. My trainer is slightly upset because he says he wishes he would have learned this earlier in his mission. We are also planning by praying for every investigator that we have individually, or in other words, we finish planning what we are going to do tomorrow for an investigator, say a pray for the next one and start throwing out ideas until we reach an agreement (revelation). That too is really cool.

On Saturday we went to look for a reference that other missionaries had given us. We couldn´t actually find their address so we thought it didn´t exist. The missionaries told us also that they lived in front of a farmacy, so naturally as we turned to leave we saw a giant farmacia sign. So we went to the house in front of it and luckily someone was leaving. We asked to speak to their mom, she came out and said that she wasn´t who we were looking for and that she couldn´t talk because her sons weren´t there. Then what happens? Her sons drive up and we start talking with them.

After talking about our message a bit they told us where the person we were looking for lived and we walked to their house. All the houses here have gates around them and this one was especially big. We were just going to write the address down because they wouldn´t have heard us if we clapped, but luckily a kid opened the door to leave. So we asked him if we could talk to the person we were looking for. He said yes and they came out. Then we talked and he even admitted that he didn´t believe our story of finding him was a coincidence. The Lord guided us perfectly to find that family.

We were walking on Sunday and passed by another reference from a member. She wasn´t there so we decided to go to the family who gave us the reference. Guess what, she was there with them and we found out that the family didn´t go to church because they were sick and nobody had come by to give them the sacrament. So we offered to do it and broke some bread there for them. Then we had an amazing lesson full of the spirit and the investigator accepted the challenge to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it to see if it is true. She even prayed after our lesson. The Lord really is guiding the missionary work, and we are just here to do what he tells us to.

You really don´t know what you are missing out by not having Alfajores there. ;D

Love, Elder Arrowchis

Monday, September 20, 2010

September 13, 2010 Acting on Faith

Alright, first about being compañero mayor. It was interesting, being responsible for my own area without the knowledge of someone else. Planning is extremely difficult because I don´t have too good of an idea of where I should go during the day. Also, revelation most of the time doesn´t hit you like a "duh, that´s what we should do right now," so I´m learning a lot more about acting on faith. It was cool to not be the worst at Castellano though, and I noticed what it is like to train. For instance, whenever I don’t understand something I turn and look at my compañero to translate. When I was with Elder Kelly in my area he would do that to me, and the confusing part, I understood almost all of what was said. The spirit definitely blessed me with the gift of tongues and the interpretation of tongues. Something I did like about spending the week with Elder Kelly is that his trainer does 100 contacts a day or something like that and so he was still accustomed to doing that. He showed me how to just go up and talk to people. It still is hard for me to do them but I have seen that they work.

One example is that we were walking by someone in the street and he was looking at us the whole time as he walked the other way. I have determined now that whenever somebody is staring at us we need to go talk to them, so I did a 90 degree turn and walked straight to him and started talking. He basically gave me his direction so we could go by his house sometime, and that never happens. Can you say, prepared? And that´s not all, while we were talking to him a lady came up to us and started talking about how inactive she is and how she has desires to go back to church and how she carries her triple combination with here that the missionary who baptized her gave her with his testimony in it.

So despite feeling inadequate, we had some success during the week. I did that for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and then Friday night and Saturday I was doing divisions with Elder Dewitt in our district in his area. He has 8 months in the mission but he only has 3 weeks in his area and didn´t have a map, so we got lost a lot. But I did learn that Christ is directing this work and that the spirit will guide us to those who are prepared to receive the gospel in our areas. I went to his area without anything for the rain, because it was hot all day, and then it suddenly started raining. So naturally I got soaked that night. During that time though, after I was good and drenched, we were stopped trying to figure out where we were and how to get to where we wanted to go. If you know me well then you know that when I am in a miserable situation (such as being completely wet) I lose my inhibitions and act out more. So we were standing next to a sewer ditch (uncrossable) and a chico was walking on the other side. So naturally I yelled across the ditch asking where a certain street was. He showed us and then walked across from us until we found it. Then my companion started talking to him and it turned out he lived right in the direction we were headed, so we asked if we could enter and share a message. He accepted right away. Next we proceeded to teach, but we did so horribly. It was a complete mess. But he was so interested that he was basically teaching us how to teach him. We invited him to the church but couldn´t remember the address, we invited him to be baptized but couldn´t remember the next date he could have his baptism so he went and got a calender for us. I also felt the spirit strongly and the thought came to my mind "This is one of my children. Teach him." People don´t come more prepared to hear the gospel than he is. Now here is the miracle. After we left it stopped raining and I know why. It rained so that we would find that boy of 19 years, because if I hadn´t been miserably soaked and had lost my inhibitions, I wouldn´t have yelled across the sewer ditch asking for directions. I would have stood there and maybe glanced at him while my companion pondered some more. That is how I know that Christ is directing this work and as long as I am doing what I am supposed to He will guide those who are prepared to me in a way that I will meet them.

We do have an oven, but it is horrible. We don´t have a clean bake pan, so I used a pot. Now we don´t really have a pot because yes I did bake the apple cake and the center was actually not bad, especially with dulce de leche on it, but the sides and bottom were charred black, thus leaving the pot charred black. So yeah, I hope you can´t wait for me to return so I can cook for you... This week we plan on buying hamburgers and going to Pablo Nogués (Area in our District) to watch "The District: 2" with the other Elders in our District. A lot more ice cream parlors are opening up and we found one that is pretty cheap, so we might pass by there too.

It is raining, but during the week it was hot and humid and I was sweating. It seems that I am doomed to always be wet here in Argentina. But I still love the clouds everyday. Honestly they are better than a painting. It is also cool that I am understanding the members more. They are hilarious here! For example, we were in a meeting with the branch presidency and the president received a text from a member and didn´t want to respond so as he was closing his phone he mumbled the spanish translation of "eat it." Presidente Musmano, que capo.

Okay, if you are looking for something to study, try this:
The leaders in the mission have been receiving training this past week during the day on how to improve their teaching. Read these chapters and verses and look for a pattern that we are implementing now in the mission on how to teach.
- Lord is teaching =>D&C 50:13,15,17,19,21
- Spirit is teaching =>1 Nephi 11:2,4,10,14,16,21
- Nephi is teaching =>1 Nephi 15:8,10,11,12,15
- Aaron is teaching =>Alma 22:7,10,12

Love you and am praying for you,
Elder Arrowchis

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September 6, 2010 [to Jordan]

First of all, Happy belated birthday! Que lo cumpla feliz, Que lo cumpla feliz, que lo cumpla Jordan Arrowchis, Que lo cumpla feliz!!! (There, now you know how to sing it in Castellano)
So your roomate likes the room cold, well welcome to learning how to live with someone and making sacrifices ;D. My companion went to BYU Hawaii for a year before his mission. Make sure for your hard classes you find a tutor or get in the habit of making appointments with your teacher early on, it helps. Also make sure you turn in your paper a week or at least a few days early to your teacher to edit so you can revise and get a higher grade when you turn it in. More than half your friends are girls, que capo. That is also cool to hear about your TWO scholarships. Hey guess what, winter is about to start there and we are going into spring here! Que raro...

About my mission, every time it rains is a funny moment because we still have to walk and a lot of my area is dirt roads (picture Grandma Arrowchis´ area but with more houses.) and so we end up walking in a lot of mud. We also talk to a lot of interesting people. I haven´t been robbed yet, but apparently everybody is at some point. My trainer said that it has happened to him a couple of times. I´m glad it hasn´t happened to me because I´m scared that my military training will kick in and instead of staying relaxed I´ll react, try to fight back, and get shot or something XD.

Also, my companion talks in noises (I call them tonterías) and now I talk in tonterías. For example, "Now we are going to go *fschip* and *schwiga schwiga*" = We are going to go to that family and write la lista with them. I´m also gaining weight, thanks to all the food and alfajores acá. The most spiritual moment is still when an investigator comes to church and you are sitting there with them feeling the spirit with them.

September 6, 2010 Que Capa!

Wow, so moving into a new house, selling my stuff. Cool, I guess. I´m learning how to cope with accepting that nothing I own is my own stuff and that it is all despensable, so yeah. Also, my address in on my facebook to write me, yeah? And has anyone asked me to write them? Just wondering now that I am getting comfortable in my area and not completely overwhelmed by being in Argentina.

This week it rained starting Thursday afternoon all the way until Friday night. That is always fun to go walking in the rain and getting mud all over my shoes. One time white foam kept coming out from where the shoe meets the sole, that was weird. This week my companion has training from the President with all the other Zone Leaders, District Leaders, and Trainers in San Fernando so I am going to stay here with another Elder´s companion who has to go. I don´t know his name yet but he got here the transfer after me, so is even less experienced than me... we´ll see how my first experience of being compañero mayor goes.

So today I am going to bake a apple cake, we´ll see how that goes. If I can find a good pot that won´t burn food, then next week I am going to make Dulce de Leche. Maybe one of these weeks I´ll get brave and try actually cooking milanesa! I will try to send some pictures next week, but my companion said that when he hooked his camera up to a computer here once his memory card got a virus, so I´ll have to try my small chip first.

I am almost out of time so I will talk about two families that I will always remember after my mission. The first, Hermana Diaz, because she says what she thinks (as do a lot of Argentines) but more so because everytime one of her kids falls she starts cracking up like she heard a funny joke or something. Now I start laughing when I see people fall. My poor kids. Second, La Hermana Delgado because she is awesome and here is a quote that sums her up: yelling at her kids "Knock it off or I am going to throw your heads into the fire..... with love!" Que capa.

Love you family and Chao for this week.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

August 30, 2010 Making Contacts

Castellano is coming along, I can understand more of what people say and can even converse with them. There are times when I know they struggle to understand what I´m saying but that is only when I am not teaching. One thing that I have noticed is that when I am talking with the spirit I know how to say the words better. It´s funny, at night in my personal prayers I still pray in English, but some words just naturally come out in Castellano. Here we call that Casteyanki (Yanki is what they call us norteamericano). I also learned that I need to do contacting in the street. One day last week I just decided to go out to try and do 5 contacts on my own. I managed to get four that day which is a record for me and even though I didn´t get to my personal goal the whole rest of the day I felt so much better than I have in a while about the mission and my work I´m doing. When I first got here to Grand Bourg I had a thought that I need to do contacts, and since that day that I did I realized that if I want to enjoy my mission that is something I need to do right now,. no matter how much it costs me to do it. I love receiving personal revelation.

Another story, this time about why members need to be involved in the missionary effort. On Sunday we didn´t have any investigators in the chapel, so during gospel doctrines class (sacrament is third hour) we decided to go out and look for some people. We went with the branch mission leader and knocked at a house but they didn´t answer so we headed towards another less active family. On the way the member with us suggested we go to an inactive family he knew but we didn´t so we did. We knocked and a lady answered. She said that it was strange but today she just woke up earlier than usual and it could be for a reason. Of course we knew why she woke up earlier than usual this Sunday and thus brought her to church with us. She enjoyed it and it seems like she might start coming back more regularly. That wouldn´t have happened if the member wasn´t with us because neither Elder Nelson nor I knew about that family. Que copado es revelación personal. And before I go one more story.

Wednesday we had family home evening with a family and for dessert guess what we had........Smore´s! Yup, a while back Elder Nelson asked his family for smore´s stuff and mac & cheese, so last week we enjoyed smore´s in Argentina. It was cool because they liked them and told us that when missionaries from the states share food, it is usually tacos or brownies. Smore´s, que copado.

Anyways, I must be off so please send further questions later. Chao!

Con Amor, Elder Arrowchis

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

August 24, 2010 Transfer Week

Wow, Jason is now home. I can´t believe that my friends are already coming back. Sorry that I didn´t write yesterday but that is because today is P-day! Transfers were this week and week of transfers P-day is on Tuesday. So in 6 more weeks you´ll have to wait until Tuesday to hear from me again. I´m still in Grand Bourg, and I guarantee you aren´t pronouncing it right because I still can´t pronounce it 100 percent correct. I´m also still with my trainer Elder Nelson so I don´t have to worry about getting lost in my area or trying to plan just yet (he has 6 months here). I am looking at having 6 months here too, so we´ll see what happens. He says that he has been here more months than I have been in my mission.

So I´m not going to lie, the mission is pretty hard. There are a lot of times when I feel like I´m not doing anything and wonder if I am doing the best I can and not wasting the Lord´s time. That´s probably just because I´m still new and trying to figure it out, but it´s a real test of patience to be so humbled in my knowledge when I´m used to trying to accel. It can also get discouraging when we spend 4 to 5 hours straight walking from reference to reference because nobody is home to let us sit and talk. But despite all these challenges I know that it is the work of the Lord and he didn´t send me here to fail. The best experience I have had so far was when an investigator came to church from another area because his missionaries wanted to go look for other investigators to bring to the last part of church. It was very spiritual and made all the pain worth it to see how much he was affected by the feeling of love that permeates the church during sacrament meeting. It definitely changed my outlook on Sundays at church.

Right now I am helping play the piano and sing when my companion is playing the piano for the ward choir. It is fun and nice to have a day when I can play the piano again. I really miss it and want to study it more after the mission so I can have a better idea how to adlib chords to hymns and things like that. I also have received recipes on how to make banana bread, torta de manzana (which I might try today), and ´de diez´ milanesa. De diez is a saying here that translates "of ten" and means super, excellent, awesome. Milanesa is a thin meat dipped in bread batter and is similar to country fried steak, but much better of course. Right now I am working on trying to get recipes on how to make dulce de leche and alfajor cookies. I heard dulce de leche is easy, you just have to stir it for 2 to 3 hours straight. Sooo, could you send me a recipe for how to make pancakes and what kind of toppings you can use? I promised someone to get the recipe in exchange for the recipe on how to make alfajores. So I will probably need a recipe, simple if possible, that doesn´t include using the mix because I doubt there is pancake mix down here. So from scratch in other words. And please send it during this week so I can write it down next week. Thank you!

I can´t believe Jordan is growing up so fast. He goes to college tomorrow! And he has the Melchezidec priesthood! Que rapido. I can´t believe he´s already done with high school, and then I get to thinking how far removed that makes me from high school, and it´s just weird. Right now I am repenting for all my friends that I didn´t share the gospel with or at least invite to church or activities. How could I not have learned how critical the gospel and church is to our lives on Earth before the mission? It really is something to have 2 years to focus just on the Gospel, if only to see how much I didn´t understand and how much more I have yet to learn.

You know what is also weird, when I hear english songs here. For instance, two seconds ago I just heard "I get knocked down" from someone´s game across the room. Do you know what´s weirder? When I hear English songs translated into Spanish! For example Bryan Adam´s "everything I do" en Castellano. Tell Amanda hi and good job with deciding to go to BYU, it´s kind of weird being surrounded by Mormons, but she´ll learn to love it and appreciate it.

Pues, les amo y siempre oro para ustedes para que tengan feliz y consuelo durante sus tiempo de cambio. Gracias por sus carta y nos vemos la semana que viene.

Chao con Amor, Elder Arrowchis

P.S. don´t forget to send the pancakes from scratch recipe before next Monday, muchísimas gracias!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August 17, 2010 No Internet

Sorry I haven´t emailed, we haven´t had internet in Grand Bourg for the past couple weeks and so now we are using email on a non p-day. I just spent the last 30 minutes trying to find a computer that works because we go to cybers (like Howie´s) to use the internet. I can´t believe Chris and Travis are already back [from their missions]. It is still difficult for me to talk with people on the street but I have faith that the Lord will bless me with the ability and more desire to do so. Right now, my favorite part [of the mission] is when an investigator attends church. I don´t have more time, love you though :)

Con amor,
Elder Arrowchis

Saturday, August 14, 2010

August 2, 2010 Argentine Cuisine

[To Jordan]

Okay, first of all it´s Buenos Aires (not Ares). Second, I can´t even remember the days when I stayed awake until 1 AM. Yes, we wake up at 6:30 everyday and are in bed by 10:30 every night. I still can´t believe that you are going to college in 3 1/2 weeks.... 25 or 26 of August? And then onto your mission a year after that, and then maybe I´ll see you sometime afterwards.

Yup, the food here is amazing. We eat a lot of similar foods that we eat in the United States, except the meat here is ten times better. For instance, I ate at a members house two days ago and we had asado, which translates to barbequed sausage links, ribs, and the best tasting steak I have ever had. Let´s just say the steak was cooked for almost 2 hours and was better than at the Brazilian steak house. We also eat a lot of pasta, which is delicious, and usually with some sort of meat. I have also eaten a dish which best resembles orange grits with chili cheese on it. I have had pizza, which is more like the Italian pizza than the American type, and it was delicious. Oh yeah, empanadas, wow. You don´t know what you are missing out on in the United States. There´s no description. And bread, lots and lots of amazing bread. It´s not like bread there, the closest I can describe it is like a French roll.... maybe. For dessert we sometimes have fruit with dulce de leche, flan, some kind of cake, pasta frola which is a pie with a layer of that membrillo jam on it, facturas which are bread with sugar and other sweet condoments, malta which is like a hot toffee drink, hot chocolate, and sometimes just fried bread with dulce de leche. Oh yeah, we eat a lot of milanese, which is very similar to country fried steak. So no, there´s not a whole lot of new and weird foods here.

My favorite missionary experience so far has been when I taught a lesson to a cousin of a boy who was being interviewed by my companion to get baptized. It was very basic and terrible (I still can hardly speak and don´t understand anybody) but the spirit was so strong that he accepted the invitation to be baptized as well in that first lesson. You could see the spirit in his eyes as he knew that the Gospel would bless his life.

That´s a bummer to hear about the Japanese classes being full, but don´t worry, if you have a Japanese speaking mission you will learn more Japanese in the first week in the MTC than probably in a semester. I learned more Spanish in 4 weeks at the MTC than in my 4 1/2 years in high school. Also, before you go make sure to go to one mission prep class with brother Greiner and pick up his list of memorized scriptures. It is front and back and everybody that has seen it on my mission has wanted a copy, because it is golden for studying the scriptures.

Good luck in school and keep writing. I don´t think I´ll be sending too many letters because there is less time to write here and it is kind of difficult to send them, so we will see. Oh yeah, congratulations on the laptop too!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July 19, 2010 Muddy and Well Fed

Church this week was kind of funny because all week Elder Nelson was talking about how many members are in our branch, and then it rained on Sunday so only 16 members showed up. Elder Nelson played the piano while I conducted. It was actually very spiritual because everyone who was there wanted to be there, so you could feel the spirit very strongly. My pants and shoes however are still very muddy from walking around that day. There is an actually church building that we go to and the bathroom has toilet paper. The members that I have met so far are awesome and have fed us everyday of the week, except for Mondays. So far I have eaten pasta twice, both times with really good carne. I have eaten empenadas twice, once at the president´s house and once at a member´s house which was delicious because they were fried. I had flan, Pasta Frola which is basically a membrillo pie, malta which is a drink like coffee (it´s not) but it tastes like toffee kind of. I also ate Polenta con Tuco, which is best described as orange grits (possibly corn flower) with chili and cheese.

Argentina is nice, but I´m not in capital, I´m in a city that is a suburb. There are a ton of dogs everywhere, almost as many as the people. They are just trotting along and sleeping on the sidewalks and so I usually say hello to them. There are all kinds. It is pretty tough right now because I can hardly understand anyone except my trainer, but he understands perfectly and I can usually feel the spirit pretty strongly. Our apartment is an adventure too, and one day we came back and didn´t have electricity all night and morning = it was freezing cold in the morning. All the people are friendly too. I absolutely love the food. And we have eaten a lot of bread. I apologize for my grammar and spelling because I´m trying to always think in Castillano but it´s tiring and to write in English is now difficult sometimes as well.

The mission life is hard, but I know I´m here for a reason and that Heavenly Father didn´t send me here to fail, and so that gives me hope that I can become the kind of missionary that I want to be. Thanks for your love and support and yes, it is easier to write emails so I don´t know how I am going to write letters, because I don´t know what to do and my companion doesn´t write them. But love you and write you again next week.

July 13, 2010 First Email from Argentina

Jordan would be happy, we are here in an internet cafe kind of like Howies, except the Spanish key board is a little bit different so excuse me if I put any weird symbols in my letter. The flight over here was fine, I actually slept and enjoyed just reading my scriptures and our search for happiness on the flight over here. My mission president is awesome. My trainer is Elder Nelson, he has been out for 16 months and has been in this area for 3 months. That was when he was with his first trainee, so I´m the second. The president of our branch is very excited to do missionary work and has called some 20 ward missionaries (I´ll double check) to help us. Apparently we never make lunch because we will always be fed lunch, and I can almost understand half of what everyone is saying, at least every native speaker. I can understand about all of what the gringos are saying :) Found how to do a smiley face.

Elder Grover contacted about 3 people in the Atlanta Airport. First was on the flight to the airport he talked to a woman and ended up handing her a pass along card. Second was when we were in line at our terminal to print his boarding pass. He was a native Argentine and we could barely understand him, ha ha. Third was in line for a burrito where we talked to someone from Mexico. We could understand him a lot more and ended up giving him a pass along card. All three experiences were really cool and thus I can´t wait to get out in the field tonight/tomorrow to start teaching. Missionary work really is the work of the Lord and it really is the most important thing I could be doing right now. I haven´t been here long enough to encounter discouragement other than nervousness at the unknown, but I know that when I do I will make it through with the help of the Lord. These will not be the best two years of my life, but they will be the best two years for my life. I also know that through my obedience angels will minister to me and provide me with the concerns that I need to address with my investigators. Bye for now and I guess I will write more next Monday! Love all of you, from Argentina!!!! By the way, no offense to Jen, but the empanadas here are much better...

July 13, 2010 Arrival in Buenos Aires

Elder Arrowchis arrived from the MTC this morning. He is doing great! He is assigned to serve with Elder Nelson who is the district leader. They are serving the Grand Bourg unit of the Sarmiento Stake. They are out working this evening.

Thank you for sending us such a wonderful young man. We look forward to serving with him.

Warmest regards,
President and Sister Gulbrandsen

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Quotes of the Day (from MTC)

14 JUN: “You use subjunctive when there’s a doubt or uncertainty involved. All feelings of doubt and uncertainty come from Satan. Therefore, the subjunctive tense is of the devil.” I don’t like the subjunctive very much.

17 JUN “The Lord hasn’t asked me whether or not I think I can do this work, but rather has simply asked me to get to work as best I can and then he will guide me and teach me during my labors.”

18 JUN “The hours between 6:30 AM and 9:30 AM make or break your mission.”

20 JUN “Believe that I can do better, work harder, and last longer than the limits my body sets for me.”

24 JUN “Could we close…and open with a prayer?”

24 JUN “I know these things are true because it feels like a fire in my hair” (pelo instead of pecho)

26 JUN “I can know the truth of all things without understanding how they work, and that’s the miracle of it.” – Pres. Hinkley

28 JUN “Fools names and fools faces always appear in public places.”

28 JUN “Every time I kneel to pray I am standing in the presence of God.”

06 JUL “I have to face very uncomfortable circumstance with courage and faith and trust my failures are for my good and that I will improve.”

Monday, June 21, 2010

MTC Pics

1) The obligatory picture...(for mom)
2) My companion, Elder Grover
3) Elder Gibbons and Elder Zebley in my district
4) Elder Mills and Elder Espana, zone leaders
5) Elder Arrowchis @ the MTC

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Stressful, but without the stress

June 8, 2010

Things are pretty stressful here, but without the stress. My schedule is tough, very similar to West Point actually, especially now that I am a zone leader. Extra meetings, extra assignments, extra responsibilities, but then again I guess that is what I prayed and asked for. The difficulty I have is being a compassionate leader because I could easily roam the halls in a squad leader mode, but I wouldn’t be accomplishing “Lead with Charity”.

So along with my super awesome/hard/challenging teachers (my challenge is still to not utter an English word to a Spanish speaker) my mission already is a big challenge. I have had to struggle so much with Spanish I’m almost glad I don’t have to worry about Chinese! Even through trying to learn Spanish feels like hitting bricks against my head, I can now carry a conversation in only Spanish, and even though I don’t feel like I can teach I still feel the spirit when I teach my pretend “investigators”.

The Elders in my district can be such goofballs, I get half of my funny “Quote of the Dia” from them. For example, recently during a practice lesson the investigator was wondering why drinking on small cup of coffee a day is so bad and without thinking (and in Spanish) he said, “Only killing one person instead of 100 people is the same thing…” Yeah, we cut him off after comparing our investigator to a murderer.

Life at the MTC seems normal because I am more accustomed to having a changing lifestyle. There’s something to be said for the Army of Helaman being able to follow the orders and commandments with exactness, because that’s fairly hard to do. But I know that the Law of Sacrifice carries a real power with real blessings behind it. I think the motto of my mission is going to be “The Lord didn’t call me here to fail” because that has been what helps me most when I’m feeling down.

“Citas del dia”

30 May: “Missionaries don’t have girlfriends, just friends who mail them wedding announcements”

02 June: To an investigator “Quiere gozo en su vida? Yo tambien…” and then silence

03 June: “Dios tiene un cuerpo de carne y jueves” (instead of carne y huesos) – Elder Gibbons

05 June: “Setting goals signifies going through the day with an objective” – Elder Ballard

Sincere Love,
Elder Arrowchis

[To Jordan]

Congratulations on being valedictorian! You’re going to be so much happier sitting in the sun with a WHITE robe instead of a black one. You’ll soon see how insignificant your high school antics were when you finally experience college life. And then later you’ll see how insignificant your college antics were when you go on a mission. My companion suggests you study in the basement of the library and study before you go back to the dorms because you won’t get any work done there. Also, take advantage of the Spirit at BYU because a lot of people don’t. Finally have fun and keep your covenants.

Once you go on a mission HOPEFULLY you will realize that missionary work is the most important work on this Earth. Remember D&C 121:34-35 “Many have been called but few are chosen. And why are those called not chosen? Because their hearts become fixated on the temporal things and issues of this world.” You were called in the premortal to do the Lord’s work, now it is your decision if you want to be worthy to be chosen to do His work on Earth.

Your Big Bro, Elder Arrowchis

New Zone Leaders

June 1, 2010

Today is the first of June and the only difference [at the MTC] on holidays is that we don’t get mail. Like West Point, the only good things about holidays are bad things for us.

My roommate/companion (I only have one roommate) is Elder Grover and he’s from Orem Utah and went to BYU Provo for a year before coming here. My class is my district and so there’s only 2 other elders in my class. Elder Gibbons is from Virginia and his dad was in the Army for half his childhood and Elder Zebley who is from Nazareth Pennsylvania. Elder Gibbons thinks he has a girlfriend and Elder Zebley can act like a goofball, but other than that they’re great Elders. My companion played football and baseball in high school and won “Mr. Orem”. He’s very loveable because he says hi to everyone and gives every elder a hug.

Oh yeah, so thank Pres. Davis for me! (slight sarcasm) I’ve only been here 2 full weeks and my companion and I have been called to be zone leaders starting next week. If my district was a platoon, and my zone a company, we are going to be company commanders. We are responsible for settling issues with the building we sleep in and with the other zones around us. We are also responsible for organizing Sacrament and Priesthood meetings. And finally, we are going to be responsible for orienting the new missionaries every week. A lot of responsibility…

Well, things are frustrating and hard because I can only speak Spanish all day but I can’t express what I want to say, although my Spanish has improved a lot. I’ve actually lost a few pounds, and I guess my branch president thinks I’m diligent. Also, I can’t testify enough how much I’m learning how important the restoration is and how emphasized it needs to be.

Tell Jordan I love him.

Sincere Love,
Elder Arrowchis

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Thinking in English

Apparently, the Lord loves answering my prayers because before I left I was praying for a hard mission and to have humility, and the Lord has already blessed me with opportunities for both! Yesterday, my district and I began our teachers’ challenge of only speaking Spanish, ever. And go figure, I am struggling exceedingly with learning and speaking it. As a matter of fact learning Chinese has not helped me because at first I couldn’t remember any Spanish words because Chinese words kept popping up in my head.

I realized something interesting as I started this last week. I realized that my secular “West Point” training has not given me any real or significant advantage while becoming a missionary. I mean there are a few things it slightly helped with, but overall I am on the same page spiritually as the rest of my district and I am struggling just as much. My estimated date for departure [from the MTC] is July 13. I was looking at another Elder’s flight plans (because he leaves for Buenos Aires next week) and it will be a 12 hour change in time from when I leave Georgia and arrive in Buenos Aires.

Oh yeah, and tell Jordan it snowed here yesterday. Yeah, that’s right, at the end of May there was an inch of snow on the ground. Well, I can’t think of anything else to write so I’ll share my new hobby, making “Quotes of the Day” (cita del dia):

20 May 10: Elder Grover
“It can change someone’s life if they see you’re excited to see them.”

21 May 10:
“God does not send angels to hover above our beds simply to freak us out”

22 May 10: @ the MTC
“There are too many hours in a day, and not enough days in the week”

23 May 10: @ the MTC
“I am trying hard to grow, so please don’t walk on me.”

24 May 10: Hermano Ammons
“I know you are thinking in English” (Se que esta pensando en Ingles)

-Elder Arrowchis

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Life is Good

Life is good but challenging here at the mission training center. No one yells, kinda weird. Unfortunately I can't say that I'm homesick because let’s face it, that happened 2 years ago, and I'm not...but I love you and can't express how glad I am that I chose to represent the Lord as if he were teaching in my place (except I'm in his). Now I'm going to write a letter with more experiences, because emails get lost or not printed or printed and lost and not as emotional and the computer screen ruins my eyes and... :-p

I will write and respond to any letters that come my way. My preparation day is on Tuesdays, aka no letter writing until Tuesdays, but I can read letters every night of the week!

-Elder Arrowchis

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Last Minute Shoe Shine

Just one hour before reporting to the Mission Training Center in Provo, Utah on May 12th, 2010 -- David was likely the only incoming missionary applying parade gloss to his shoes.

Mother's Day Farewell Talk

Just before leaving home, new missionaries are often asked to speak during a regular sacrament meeting for their home congregation. Since David's farewell was on May 9, his assigned topic coincided with Mother's Day.

Just recently, my mom was sifting through old childhood photos of my brother and I when I began to reminisce about the good ole glory days, when men were boys, and women were cootie-carrying vessels of mystery. As I was looking at these old photos I realized that my mother was involved in some way with all of them, whether she was in the picture with me or was the one taking it. I find this interesting because at the time I must have been too interested in my batman toys or the dinosaurs at Disneyland to notice how much of an influence in my life my mom was by simply how much time she spent with me. In fact, if it were not for my mom I would not have done half as many of the activities I have accomplished in my life, if any. For instance, as a testament to the truth of that statement, my mom is about to earn her second Eagle Scout award.

In Exodus 20:12 we are commanded to “Honour thy father and thy mother.” Why is this principle so important that it was instituted as one of the big ten commandments? It is apparent that the Lord thinks very highly of this commandment, especially in Moses’s day, because in Mark 7:10 it records that:

“For Moses said, Honour thy father and mother; and whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum the Lord does promise us that if we honor our parents that our days may be prolonged on the Earth, and even if our life is not physically lengthened the quality of our life will be vastly enriched. Nephi tells us he honored his parents when in 1 Nephi 2:16 he said:

“… I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.”

Nephi even shows this love for his parents outwardly when, after bearing a long and powerful testimony of the power of the Lord to his brothers Laman and Lemuel, rebuking them for speaking ill of and murmuring against their father, he tells them to worship the Lord and to honor their father and mother. The Army of Helaman exemplifies this commandment when Helaman recounts how the 2,000 warriors in his army:

“…never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives;”

And here’s the crux as to why:

“…yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.”

And finally the ultimate example comes from Christ when in Doctrine and Covenants 19:24 he says:

“I am Jesus Christ; I came by the will of the Father, and I do his will.”

The family unit is perhaps the closest we come to emulating and understanding our Heavenly Parents. Caring for a child in the capacity of a father or mother figure helps teach us how to be not only instructive and watchful, but also how to love with the pure love of Christ.

How do we honor our parents, and for the purposes of celebrating today, honor our mothers? In the Ensign issue of April 1998, President Thomas S Monson tells of COL Higginson, a famed civil war officer who when asked what the most remarkable event of bravery he told of a man in his regiment who was “pure in his daily life, absolutely free from dissipations in which most of the other men indulged. He recounted that:

“One night at a champagne supper, when many were becoming intoxicated, someone in jest called for a toast from this young man. …he arose, pale but with perfect self-control, and declared: “Gentlemen, I will give you a toast which you may drink as you will, but which I will drink in water. The toast that I have to give is, ‘Our mothers.’” Instantly a strange spell seemed to come over all the tipsy men. They drank the toast in silence. There was no more laughter, no more song, and one by one they left the room. The lamp of memory had begun to burn, and the name of Mother touched every man’s heart.”

We honor our father and mother by listening to their teachings, and even more so by remembering them and living them, just as the stripling warriors in Helaman’s Army did. They believed their mothers and followed their teachings with exactness, and thus were able to run from a bloodthirsty enemy, turn around and then with no combat experience and suffering from exhaustion were able to beat them without suffering a single loss of life and minimal casualties.

As I prepare to embark on my mission, I wonder what miracles I can see accomplished if I choose to follow what I have been taught with exactness.
(bear testimony of living gospel principles at West Point)
(bear testimony of Training new cadets)
(bear testimony of power of Atonement and how it’s helped me get to my mission)

In closing I would like to read a poem that I wrote a few years ago in High School that describe how I have come to characterize my mom after these 20 years of knowing her:

A person of most notable worth
Is the person who went through my birth.
Who held in arms and with kisses smother
I am talking about my grand, ole mother.

She rocked me to sleep while I whined through the night
Oh, I’m sure she thought “What an eternal delight.”
Carrots and broccoli and nasty whole wheat
All of these poisons she forced me to eat.

So for years of no sleep her revenge was so sweet
I was sent to a prison, my life faced defeat.
They compelled me to count, to read, and to write
Millions of facts ‘til my head became light.

Look both ways, tie your shoe, put on your shirt
Wear helmets and knee pads and don’t eat that dirt.
Finish your dinner, no more T.V.
Wash your hair and stop bothering me.

I made it through five years with seven to go
All the anguish for me I was yet to know.
Her plan of payback was growing and swelled
My tasks were harder as my freedoms she quelled.

Practice Piano, do all your homework
Grounded, wake up, can’t go, say please, don’t smirk.
Who are your friends, just say no, make good choices
How can you concentrate with all those loud noises?

The final lap with just four year ‘til I’m out
“When I live alone…” to my mom I would shout.
She saw her control had almost run dry
So she sent me to work, I thought I would die.

On my own now to do what I please, but wait
Payments, laundry, I need food on my plate!
The work my mom gave me that put me to snores,
Turned out to be teaching rather than chores.

I would also like to close with my testimony that Heavenly Father teaches us eternal principles through our trials and as long as we remain faithful through them and endure to their end we will grow to see how they bless our lives. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.