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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