Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Elder Sirrine's district lighting fireworks
Dear Dad,

Thanks for the message and everything. I love you guys tons. This year my Christmas was good but it wasn´t very special. I spent Christmas Day with my district. We played soccer and ping pong, messed around with fireworks and we ate lunch together. There was nothing that was open on that day. It was terrible because we don´t really have food in our apartment right now. I have a video of what we did with the Fireworks but it´s too big to send in an email. I´ll see if I can send it to you guys another way. I´ll try putting it on Dropbox and from there kendall will be able to see it and show it to you guys. I´ll let her know that she has it on Dropbox too. I´m also putting the video I took of the fireworks on Christmas Eve. That was pretty cool to see even if there really weren´t a whole ton of fireworks. The people here have been saying that it´s less and less every year and I think the problem is the price of the fireworks. They are expensive and a lot of people don´t think it´s worth it. I still thought it was really cool. One sad thing that I have realized this year is that Christmas is actually a harder time for missionaries. At least in my area, because the people all leave for vacations or they are excited just to celebrate, drink and have fireworks. It´s sad that they don´t have the spirit of Christmas and that they don´t realize how important it really is for us. The family that we spent Christmas eve with is a very less active family and I think they have also started to drink alcohol. I felt really awkward being there and they had a lot of friends and family come that neither I nor my companion knew. It was awkward and we were both happy to leave but the food was amazing. My companion has the pictures of the Asado that they cooked. I´ll ask him to send me those because I didn´t feel comfortable asking for a picture. I will get pictures of what we do for New Years though. I think that will be a lot better because we´re going to spend that day with the missionaries in our zone. I hope that will turn out better than  Christmas Eve did. I´m pretty sure it will. But, after the awkward party with the family we went and spent the night with our zone and played Uno til about 3 in the morning. That was a ton more fun! I love the missionaries! So, my Christmas started awkward and ended good. I also had a lot of good food so I can´t complain. I´m still loving Argentina and loving my mission. Miss you guys tons and love you all lots.

Love, Michael
Youth Soccer Players
Dear Mom,

Thanks for the email and the updates about the family. I hope you and Dad enjoy your anniversary. Have a wonderful year and I hope that you guys are able to achieve all of your goals. I miss you guys tons and love you all.
Love, Michael

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas

Dear Mom,

Thank you for the updates about the family and how you are all doing. I will see if I can push it back til 9 your time but we´ll have to see how it goes. Right now I know that it´ll be between 8 and 10 your time so just be ready as close to 8 as you can and be watching the computer. I didn´t know that that was the story of the Christmas talent show. That is really funny. Thanks for sharing it. Yesterday in our interviews with President Rogers we did a little activity where we read the Christmas story and sang all the songs in Spanish. It was way cool and I really liked it. I definitely felt the Spirit and it gave me a new appreciation for Christmas. We ended talking about the gifts that we can give to the Savior and how all that he asks of us is us. He already has everything and has given us everything so all that we can give to him is our all and as missionaries we are doing that for the 2 years or 18 months that we serve Him. It was a way cool message to have. Hope you guys all have a wonderful Christmas and that you enjoy spending it together. Wish I could be with you and I miss you guys tons.

Lots of love, Michael
Missionary tool for teaching the youth
Dear Dad,

Thanks for the quote from Elder Holland and the update. I appreciate them both. I also really appreciate the pictures. It makes me smile when I see you guys. The update for me this week is that I had a member in the ward here that we have become really good friends with recently doing service tell me that I have lost a noticeable amount of weight. I didn´t realize I had dropped that many pounds. She also gave us a cherry pie for dessert yesterday after lunch. It´s interesting to see how the Lord has provided for us. Every day that we haven´t had a lunch and when we don´t have any food in our apartment someone always gives us a meal. And yesterday our planned lunch cancelled on us right before church ended and we were going to head over there. But this family, the Carota family, was right there and were able to give us lunch. We have been doing a lot of service for them the last couple of weeks because 90% of the people here have left for their vacations to visit family and friends for the holidays. We really can´t find anyone in their homes anymore. The Carota´s however haven´t and probably won´t travel for a while so we´ve been able to do stuff with them. They´re really good friends of ours now. I have also learned a lot of the things that you can do with cherries. Because here in Trelew it´s Cherry season so everywhere you look people are selling Cherries and families have tons of Cherries. Hermano Carota got gifted about 6 crates full of Cherries that my companion and I have helped him pit and prepare to make Cherry Jam and other things. He made one recipe that is called Dulce de Cerezas which I don´t think translates to English very well that is just Cherries and sugar but when cooked tastes like it has cinnamon in it. It´s way good. But, right now I am about done with Cherries for a while. They´re good but I can´t eat too many for too long. I´m sick of Cherries. The only other cool thing from this week is that we had our interviews with President Rogers yesterday which were awesome! I love talking to him and he was super helpful with answering all of my questions and giving advice. His wife also told me that I look a lot tanner than when I first got here which is good to know for me. I didn´t think I could really get tan. We also talked about how our training is going and if we would change anything about the intro to the mission when we first showed up. I told them that the program for training is really basic and boring and because our little DVD player has been broken for 2 weeks we haven´t really been able to follow it too much but I have done all of the things that I was supposed to do anyway which is cool. Outside of that not a whole lot is going on here. It´s almost Christmas and I still don´t believe it and I am still hot every day. Wish you all a Merry Christmas and I look forward to talking to you guys tomorrow. 

Love, Michael
 Dear Dad,

Thanks for setting up my Skype account and for giving me the information. You guys are the best. The Zone is going to get together on the 25th to do something for the whole day I think and I´m pretty sure that we´re meeting up on the 24th after midnight to watch the fireworks and be together. It should be a lot of fun. I am going to be skypeing from one of the internet cafes. I think I can push the time to between noon and 2 p.m. my time. Anything other than that wouldn´t work for us because at about 5 we´re supposed to be with the family we´re going to spend Christmas with. So between 8 and 10 is when I´m going to Skype you guys. Look forward to seeing you then.

Love, Michael

Monday, December 16, 2013

Teaching the Local Youth Soccer Players

This info was sent to me (Dad) by Morfar and I sent it on the Elder Sirrine:

Dear Elder Sirrine

Just a little south of the "end of the world"

WASHINGTON (AP) — Feeling chilly? Here's cold comfort: You could be in East Antarctica which new data says set a record for "soul-crushing" cold.
Try 135.8 degrees Fahrenheit below zero; that's 93.2 degrees below zero Celsius, which sounds only slightly toastier. Better yet, don't try it. That's so cold scientists say it hurts to breathe.
A new look at NASA satellite data revealed that Earth set a new record for coldest temperature recorded. It happened in August 2010 when it hit -135.8 degrees. Then on July 31 of this year, it came close again: -135.3 degrees.
The old record had been -128.6 degrees, which is -89.2 degrees Celsius.
Ice scientist Ted Scambos at the National Snow and Ice Data Center said the new record is "50 degrees colder than anything that has ever been seen in Alaska or Siberia or certainly North Dakota."
It would be fun to be down there now at the peak of summer. But maybe not so fun in mid-winter. These temperatures are at the south pole so it's a little toastier in Ushuaia.
Elder Sirrine's Zone: Trelew North
Love always Dad
Dear Mom,
I think I might bring them something. Thanks for the suggestion. I hope you guys all have a wonderful Christmas. Christmas here is not the same as in Utah. I´m starting to get used to it though. I miss Christmas though, I miss it a ton. Love you guys tons and know that I miss you and you are all in my prayers. Love you guys tons!
Love, Michael

On Mon, Dec 9, 2013 at 1:41 PM, <sirlinda@comcast.net> wrote:
Hello Michael,
It is so good to hear that you have a great family to spend Christmas with. That is definitively an answer to prayer. You should bring something to them as a family - like a box of chocolate or something the whole family would like. Your companion will probably help with a good suggestion. Love you lots and we look forward to hear more updates next week.
Lots of love from Mom
Two Zone conference with Elder Zeballos and President Rogers

 Dear Dad,

Thanks for sending me that. it´s a cool update. My updates from the week are rather short. We have spent a lot of time playing soccer and talking to a group of about 20 teenage kids that play on the field behind the chapel. I think that some of them can play better than some professionals. These kids are amazing! And they have been teaching me to the point that I am able to play near their level. It´s pretty awesome. The only problem is that injuries will happen. i jumped up for a header, which scored a goal for my team, and landed bad. I hit my knees on the concrete so hard that I still have bruises a week later. But we got the point which is good. My companion and I are now really good friends with those kids and they´re starting to listen to us as we teach a little bit about the gospel. They all are Evangelists and so they have some crazy odd beliefs and odd beliefs about Mormons too. It´s a lot of fun to talk to them. On Thursday we said goodbye to Enrique as he went off to Tucuman to visit his family for the holidays. He´s going to come back in about February which means that I´ll probably still be here but my companion won´t. This transfer ends on the 12th of January. 
The other things that happened this week were that we found out that one of our investigators is a smoker. Neither my companion nor I knew about it before. It was funny because we walked up right as she was about to light her cigarette and she quickly tried to hide it. She´s also traveling until January so we won´t be able to teach her for a while. Seems like everybody is traveling right now. There were only 28 people in church on Sunday counting my companion and I. Our numbers have dropped a lot. We were talking to one of the sisters yesterday and she said that she felt sorry for me starting my mission in an area with people that are so cold and closed off. But, as far as I feel I´m doing alright. I figure that if I keep working and trying the Lord will bless my efforts. We only receive blessings after the trial of our faith, Right? So, I´m going to keep working, studying and praying and the Lord will come through when the time is right. I´ve still got faith and hope.
Another interesting thing that I´ve done this week was to teach the Christmas story to someone that didn´t know it before. I didn´t realize how much I miss the Christmas spirit that there is in Utah. It´s really weird how the people celebrate Christmas here. They party all night and have fireworks. I think it´ll be interesting to see the Fireworks and I look forward to having an Asado that day. Asado is like barbeque, lots of really good meat and food. It should be awesome.
One question for you dad, we have an investigator that is living with a sister and they aren´t married. He is trying to get divorced with his wife but she lives in Tucuman and the woman that he´s living with is now two months pregnant with his baby. What should I do to help them? We talked to our ward mission leader about it, he knows a ton about the gospel, and he said that they need to split up or neither of them will be able to progress in the gospel. It seems harsh to do that to them and I think that they´re doing alright now. I just don´t really know what I should do. What do you think?


Monday, December 9, 2013

P-Day, Soccer Ball and Gangs

Dear Mom,

I´m glad that everything is going well with you guys and that you´re all enjoying the Christmas season. Thanks for the updates of the family and everything. I hope that all goes well with Zander being a ref. I hope that things go well for you and the choir and for Naiah. It´s cool that she´s playing the piano now. Up til two days ago I thought I wasn´t going to have anywhere to go for Christmas but now we have a less active family that has invited us to spend Christmas with them. I think it´s going to be a lot of fun. The oldest daughter of that family is preparing to go on a mission some time in the next year I think. She´s been going out with the sister missionaries and everything. I think that if she does go on her mission her family will activate. I just hope that all works out well. I´m looking forward to spending Christmas with them because even if they aren´t my family they´re still an awesome family and I love them. It´ll be interesting though.
The only other update that I have is that I bought myself a soccer ball and that we´ve got a group of like 12 youth that we´re talking to about the gospel. They come from the streets though so they´re a more rough crowd and the language they use is far from clean. It would be cool though if we could teach them. I don´t know how that´s all going to pan out. Hopefully for the best.
Love, Michael.
Elder Sirrine's Planner

Dear Dad,

I think it would be awesome if my next transfer was to Ushuaia. Then I could see the glaciers and the lighthouse at the end of the world and the area would be much safer and probably greener. I think that would be awesome. Thanks for the updates and the scripture, I love getting them both. It´s awesome. A typical P-day starts with study and then around noon we head out to go to the cyber where I email you guys. After the cyber we meet up with a couple other missionaries go and eat and then we play soccer or some other sport in the stake center. If we aren´t playing a sport we´r out buying food and all the other things that we need for the week. At about 6 we´re back at the pension and then we head out to work. I haven´t gone to the beach yet but I have recently heard about a really beautiful beach that´s pretty close. We may go soon. I think I can carry mace but I don´t have any and usually if you crouch down and look like you´re going to pick up a rock the dogs will turn tail and run. The arcades are like a normal arcade in the states maybe just a little more beat up. The Cybers are just buildings that have a lot of computers and a little bit of privacy so you can do what you want without everybody else seeing. My investigators are doing good. The only problem that I have right now is that they need to go to church. One can´t go because she´s got health problems and because she has to babysit her grandchildren and we can´t swing by to help her because then she feels obligated to go and doesn´t like that. The other just needs to get divorced and remarried and then he´ll go. He feels a bit of shame to assist now because he can´t participate in the sacrament. But I think that things are going well with him getting stuff ready to for that. I´m not sure though.
Spanish Dragonball Z Cards
My cool experience for the week is that we did divisions on Tuesday and I went to the other area in my district with Elder Caceres. He arrived the same time I did but is from Chile and so can speak better than me. With him I had like four or five lessons and we did a couple of contacts. It was a productive day. They have an area called la mil which means one thousand. It´s an apartment complex that is kind of like a maze. It was kind of crazy walking through there. I think there are also a lot of gangs in their area too because we heard a lot of noises that sounded like bombs or gunshots. It was a lot more ghetto than my area. But, it was a fun experience and it was cool to talk to him. We also watched a video called the Butterfly Circus which is a really cool inspirational movie. It´s like 20minutes long and I think it´s on Youtube. You guys should watch it. That´s all for this week. Love you guys tons!
Love, Michael

Monday, December 2, 2013

Transfer Day: Michael and Companion Stay! Others Say Goodbye for Now

Dear Dad,

Thanks for the updates and the support. I really appreciate them both. It´s cool that you had a good Thanksgiving and everything. That is a crazy story from Brandan! Today is transfer day, my trainer and I are still staying here in Trelew together, but two of the other companionships are changing. Elder Smedley, the Elder that I speak to all the time and am really good friends with now had to say goodbye to his trainer today. That was hard for them both. One of our zone leaders is also going to change. Our new zone leader is going to be one of my companions old companions. That will be interesting to see. 

Elders Sirrine, Smedley, Jara, and Salas

 My investigators are doing good. One, Sergio, is getting things set up so that he can divorce his old wife, get married with his new girlfriend and get baptized. I don´t know how long that will take but he´s already started the process and he is progressing awesomely. We also found a new girl this last week that we started teaching. She´s a friend of Natalia, my recent baptism, the problem with her is that her parents are really devout Jehova´s witnesses and I don´t think that they like other religions or would like if she joined our church. That´s a little bit of a stumbling block but I think that she seemed interested and felt something while we were teaching her. I hope that things with her work out. As far as things with me I´m adjusting to missionary life and to Argentina just fine, my companion and I are getting along great and I´m enjoying every day. I just can´t beleive that I´ve already been here for a whole transfer. Time goes by so fast and one Elder told me that after a year time will go by even faster. I just hope that I can do good things here. The language is going awesomely for me right now. I shared a scripture message with Enrique, a really recent convert that my companion and I love, and after I shared it he congratulated me on how much my ability to speak has improved and he congratulatd my companion for teaching me and helping me. One weird thing that happened with them is that the niece of Enrique´s wife has a lot of weird problems right now. They were telling us the story of what all was going on with her and I think that she´s posessed by spirits or something. They said that the Bishop and the Stake President have given her two blessings and talking to them they said that when they gave her the first blessing they could feel that something was really wrong and that there was something really different about this girl. Melina, Enrique´s wife, said that one Elder or someone told her that there´s an ordinance that is used to cast out devils. It´s not just a regular blessing. I had no idea before that there was anything like that and right now I don´t really know if I totally beleive that. We don´t have anything like that in our White Bible and I have never heard of anything like casting out spirits outside of the Bible. Enrique and his wife are going to go up to Tucuman, where the rest of the family is, to visit over Christmas and to see if they can help them with anything. I hoep that everything goes well with them. As for me playing the piano I am now the unofficial pianist of my ward because nobody else can play. I have been playing the piano in sacrament since the first Sunday that I got here and it has been going really well for me. That´s all the updates for this week I think. I´ll tell you more next week. Thank you for the prayers and support, I really appreciate them.