Thursday, September 26, 2013

Patagonia Region of Argentina

The Patagonia region rests on the southern portion of South America, partially in connection with Argentina and Chile. Since it was discovered, and word of its scenery was told, it has awakened fascination, curiosity, and desire for the remote, untouched, and mysterious. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking, and it is not mimicked anywhere else in the world.

Comodoro Rivadavia is the largest port city in the Patagonia region. Elder Sirrine’s mision home is based in this city pictured below

“ End of the World” Ushuaia is the southern most city in Argentina but not the southern most in the Comodoro Rivadavia mission. The tip near Cape Horn is part of Chile but is in his mission and it has  a military base/town named Puerto Williams. It is port of entry and major hub for scientific activity linked to Antarctica and the islands south of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego which is Spanish for “Fireland”
The southernmost city in the world is mainly a slogan used for tourism to attract visitors to the city as well as the tourists headed for Antarctica. Currently three cities or towns use this slogan: Ushuaia in Argentina as well as Punta Arenas and Puerto Williams in Chile. There are several more settlements further south but none are considered to be large enough to be classified as a 'city'.

(From top to bottom; from left to right) View of Ushuaia from the harbor; Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse; Malvinas War Memorial; Tierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atántico Sur government building and the port.
Motto: "Ushuaia, fin del mundo, principio de todo" (Spanish)
"Ushuaia, end of the world, beginning of everything"

The Patagonia region expands just south of the Colorado river in Argentina, wedged in between the Andes Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. You can really get a feel for what nature looks like unscathed by man. It is a primitive, serene, raw, and awesome nature.

The semi-arid plateaus of the Eastern part of the Patagonia region are surreal to look at. The Western mountain ranges have deep valleys and canyons, are overspread with trees, and they are topped with snow and dotted with glaciers and lakes. The various elements’ combinations are what’s so breathtaking. It’s seeing all this raw nature in its purest form.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Second P-day in the Provo MTC

I loved the treats that I got in the package. I'm kind of surprised at how well all of the kids knew me. Thanks for all the letters you guys sent with the package. I will try to write you guys back and have those mailed out sometime this week. The MTC is crazy busy. From 6:30 in the morning til10:00 at night I have somewhere to be and something to be doing. My companion's name is Elder Tingey, He's the one that is wearing the white glasses. There are six elders in my district including my companion and me and of them four of us are going to Comodoro Rivadavia and the other two are going to Cordoba. I have learned quite a bit about Spanish in the week that I have been here. I'm really surprised at how much I was able to learn and how fast I was able to learn it. One of the most spiritual experiences I have had while at the MTC was last night at the Sunday night movie. I was watching a talk that Elder Holland gave last Thanksgiving at the MTC the entirety of his message was about how grateful he was to be born in the last dispensation. He said that if you look at all of history the gospel has been put on the earth several times but it has never stayed around very long or been accessible to very many people. He said that all of the prophets in those days probably knew that they were going to fail. They all knew that what they were doing wouldn't be enough. But, they all probably saw a vision of our days and they all knew that eventually the gospel was going to spread over all the Earth and that there would be 48,000 missionaries out in the world proclaiming the message of the gospel. That is probably why none of them ever gave up when things got really bad. When Peter was crucified upside down and when Paul was being beheaded they all saw our days and knew that what they had been doing wasn't in vain. And we seem to take all of that for granted. We have been given probably the greatest blessing we could have ever received and we don't stop to think about how awesome it is. And when we do think about it we say, sometimes glibly, "We must have been really special in the preexistence to have been chosen to come down in the last days before the gospel is restored. But are we any more deserving than the pioneers? Or all of the people that came before us and tried to preach the gospel? What did we do to be better than them and to be chosen to come down now in this time as opposed to any other time we could have come down. What did we do? Why do we deserve this? I think that when the veil is removed from our eyes we will then truly appreciate what we have and why we got it and we will probably cry and mourn that we didn't get it sooner or that we didn't understand it better than we did.

On a different note the cafeteria food has been really good. And the MTC choir is one of the best things here in the MTC. The choir director knows so much about the stories behind the songs that he makes them come alive and have new meaning for me. He taught me that the song Nearer My God to Thee is about Jacob the brother of Esau. When he got the birthright Esau was going to kill him so Jacob had to flee into the wilderness. He left so fast that he wasn't able to bring any supplies with him. When night fell he laid down and used a rock as his pillow. That night he had a dream that he saw a ladder coming down from heaven and angels told him what he needed to do to climb that ladder. That's what the song is about. His dream. I didn't know that and now that I do I have a new appreciation for the song. It's way cool.

I'm glad that Zander is helping out without complaining and that Max is doing well with football. I think it's awesome that Callista is a little social butterfly but it's crazy to think that she's already able to text and call on a cellphone. Also thanks for sharing that talk. I really like it and it helped me to feel a little bit better. I've been feeling really homesick the last couple of days and it's been hard for me to focus entirely on the work. I feel tired all the time and kind of down. But that email and the talk from Elder Holland have definitely been good pick me ups. I have also used my journal to help out as a pick me up. I've enjoyed being able to write everything down that I'm feeling and then leaving the rest up to the Lord. He has definitely been answering my prayers recently and I love it.

I love all of you guys and miss you a ton. I'll email next week.


Friday, September 20, 2013

MTC companion Elder Tingey

Elder Michael Sirrine said on Monday September 16, 2016, “…Speaking of stories my companion Elder Tingey is blind in his left eye because he somehow got Chicken Pox in his eyes. He doesn't know how that happened but it makes for an interesting fact/story about him. Also I am singing in the MTC choir and the choir director told us about Joseph Smith and said that both the devil and the Savior had their eyes on him throughout his life. He almost died several times but was saved by random people, and the infection in his leg originally started in his shoulder. When they lanced the wound to drain the pus the infection then spread to his leg and the skin swelled so much that it was taut. The only way he could get relief was by someone massaging his leg and his older brother, Hyram, I think, would stay up all night massaging his leg so he didn't have to  be in as much pain. After a while the doctors said they'd have to cut his leg off but his mother knew he needed his leg for something important. One of the few men in the country that was performing this new bone surgery was in his area. That saved his leg. I also learned that he studied the scriptures for two years before he found James 1:5, and he pondered about that for a while before he chose the spot that he was going to ask god. He chose the grove a while before he went and prayed. I also learned that there are eight different accounts of the first vision given by him to different people that all included different amounts of detail.

MTC 006

Elder Tingey, Elder Sirrine’s MTC companion

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Family group hug
By now you have settled into a room and been assigned a companion and had orientation and started language learning classes. Let us know if you need anything sent through the mail. You will be allowed to email us on your assigned Prep-day while you do your laundry. If there is some kind of food missing from the food offerings in the cafeteria etc let us know. You will get my first email on your p-day because I sent it to your email. But this Dear Elder site gets a letter into your box that day. The girls and Max all started to cry as we pulled away from the MTC since it really hit them then as to what was really happening. They all sent emails right when we got home. As long as you are at the MTC we will have everyone sent letters through the Dear Elder service so you can read them during the week. We don't want to distract you too much but a few letters each day I would think will be nice. And an occasional package. Take on the mantle of missionary as your Grandpa said at the setting apart. You are commissioned as a special representative of the Lord starting last Tuesday night. Let us know your thoughts and all about the district and your companion and roommates. We love you very much and are so proud of your decision to serve and your worthiness. Study hard, keep the spirit and have fun. This is an exciting time.

Elder Sirrine with all that stuff

Zander says good-bye

Mom's last big hug

Elder Sirrine is off on his way
Isabel, Max, Callista  and Naiah know Elder Sirrrine is gone
I love you too. I think that this is where I need to be and one of the members in my branch presidency told me that it isn't a coincidence that I am where I am and that I'm with who I'm with. I look forward to knowing why the Lord put me where I am.
Elder Sirrine day before MTC at photo shoot

Photo shoot with missionary suit

Elder Sirrine ready to serve

First email from the Provo MTC sent 9/16/13