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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