Monday, March 31, 2014

Pension Problems and a Sunrise

Dear Mom and Dad,

It´s crazy how fast time has passed for me. The soccer field is from one of the local clubs so the buildings are either from the club or from the Carrefour that is right next to the church. Carrefour is like Walmart here. My house is on Cayelli and we´re like three blocks away from the church building. My investigators are doing really well. The problem is that we have a huge family that are investigating and the dad is in the hospital right now because they recently discovered that he has diabetes and his sugar levels are way high. Also he´s lost all desire to eat and is kind of freaking out because he had a grandma or something die from complications of Diabetes, alcohol and cancer. So he thinks that diabetes is going to kill him. I just hope that he calms down because he can live fine and be diabetic.
Sunrise from Elder Sirrine's Pension
My companion and I are doing fine. At the end of the week are when the transfers are going to be and they´re going to put hermanas in my area and people are saying that I am probably going to train next transfer. It´ll be really weird to see all of the changes that happen but I think it´ll be fun. I look forward to the next transfer. The funniest thing that I have seen with the ward is how they react to hearing that there are going to be hermanas here soon. Lots of the members are excited but nobody wants to sign up to give them lunches. We pass around calendars on Sunday for the lunches with the missionaries for the month. And the calendar for me is about full and for the hermanas there are three days filled. It´ll be odd to see how things play out for them. The other problem is that we need to find them a pension and there is nothing here. So we may need to move out of our house or they might have to live with the other hermanas. It´s been weird trying to figure this whole thing out but it´s been cool. 

I still haven´t been to the ocean because we´re not allowed to go during the summer. I think that I´ll be going out there sometime soon though if we can get permission. The funny stories from the week are my companion and I found a latino sized Lagoon here. They have roller coasters and all sorts of stuff and it´s all tiny. I don´t think that any gringo could fit in there but it´s perfect for Latinos tiny as they are. It was funny to hear my companion say that. The only other interesting thing about this week was that last Monday when my companion and I left the pension we found a cop outside and he said, " what are you doing here?" and we were like, " We live here. What are you doing here?" Then he called his companion and said, "I´m here with two Mormons and they say that you aren´t inside. What happened here?" Then he told us to be careful because this area is dangerous and we went on our merry way. That has got to be one of the oddest conversations that I have had with a person in the street. And that´s really all that happened this week. It´s been pretty boring and normal. Love you guys tons and hope you have a great week.

Love, Michael

Monday, March 24, 2014

First week of autum in the Patagonia

Dear Mom,

Breakfast with companion
Thanks for all of the updates about the family. It sounds like you are all having a fun time. My companion and I are getting along great, we have lots of fun together and are working well. This week we found a couple of new people and we´re going to see how things go with them and the people that we are now teaching are really progressing a ton. It´s been awesome to see that change. I hope that next month we´ll be able to have some baptisms because we´ll have our chapel back. No, I don´t play the piano in church here. I love my district and my zone. The missionaries here are all awesome! And for the moment I think that I have everything that I need for winter but if I don´t I´ll buy things or ask you guys. Thanks for all being so awesome! Love you guys tons and hope you have an awesome week.

Love, Michael

Sunset in Comodoro

Cooking up eggs

 Dear Dad,

I think that it would be cheaper for me to buy stuff here. I have have a couple of hats some gloves and thermals. So I think that I´ll be pretty well set for the winter and if I need anything it will be a whole lot easier for me to just buy it here. So, I´ll let you guys know if I need money or anything.

The updates from the week are that we did divisions on Friday and Elder Tyler and I had an amazing day. We found a guy in the street that started to talk to us and he told us about a crazy drug induced vision that he had that was pretty intense. And as we were talking to him he said that we had guts and he respected us for walking around in the areas that we walk in without fear. It was really cool to meet him. And then he introduced us to his friend who needed help cleaning out a house before moving into it and while we helped them clean we got to teach the guy all about the restoration and about god and what god wants for us. He was a way cool guy and he asked us to come back and talk to him more and to help them clean. He also asked us to say a dedicatory prayer in his house to take out all of the bad energy that was in there because there used to live a group of satan worshippers there before him and he wanted to be totally sure that any lingering bad energy would be totally gone. Lots of crazy cool stuff happens here.

The other really cool thing that happened to me this week was that my companion and I have been having a lot more luck finding our investigators and people at home recently. We went to an investigator yesterday and learned about his life. He was in the military in Bolivia and told us about all of the crazy things that happened to him while he was tracking down the illegal cocaine dealers. The things that happened to him were crazy. He´s a way cool guy though. And that´s really all that happened to me this week. Love you guys and miss you all tons! Hope that you all have a great week.

Love, Michael
Gift for a little girl in an Investigator family from Bolivia

Cool Shirts

Monday, March 17, 2014

Letter to Callista

Dear Callista

Thanks for the letter, Callista. I have seen a ton of animals here but the majority are dogs and cats in the street. I have also seen the penguins, guanaco, a martineta and a lot of pigeons. And I haven´t been looking for any cute girls here so no, I haven´t seen many.

Love, Michael

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Dear Dad,

We call the eternal investigators the same thing. Snakes are the investigators that just like the missionaries, or think that we´re handsome but don´t really want the gospel. They´re the people that get baptized because the missionary asked them too and not for a testimony. Also I can´t buy the mission pin. What I have is a coin that has the two images on it. I´ll ask President though to see what he says.
Elder Sirrine's new bedroom

Elder Sirrine's kitchen

The updates for the week are that, a couple days ago my companion and I were trying to see if we could find some investigators at home. They´re a huge Bolivian family and the dad is a member and wants us to teach all of the kids. So we went to see if any of the kids were at home with their spouse or family. (They´re all over 18 and now live out of the house) And when we were doing that we found all of them going up to the dad´s house for a party and they invited us. So we got to eat an asado and enjoy ourselves a ton. ONe of the cool traditions that the Bolivians have is that when a daugther hits a year or two years old the mom puts her daughter´s hair in little pig tails and everyone in the family gets together and they all cut off a little bit of hair and give money or a present to the little girl. It was funny because when they started the little girl was crying and when she started to see all the money she got really happy and started laughing. And after all the little pig tails where gone they shaved her bald. It was odd but cool. And now my companion and I owe that family a present because they invited us to participate. The crazy stuff that happens to missionaries, fun times though. Lots of fun times.

And, that it´s cold here! And weirdest of all is that I feel it! I think I lost all of the fat that was keeping me warm and now I feel the cold. It´s messed up. But the good hting is that a member family gifted me a coat because I didn´t have one before. So now I´m protected more or less from the rain and the cold. It looks a lot more like winter every day here now. It´s cold! And I am loving it. I love the cold a whole lot more than the hot. The other odd thing that happened this week is that yesterday the members that live beneath my apartment from whom we are renting told my companion and I that in the morning there was a fight right outside of our pension that was bad enough that they had to send the kid to the hospital and they said that his face was destroyed and that there was blood everywhere. The weirdest thing is that my companion and I didn´t even notice. I think it´s crazy that we didn´t notice that but it was good that nothing happened to us. This city is way messed up. But, I´m safe and happy. Love you guys tons and miss you lots. Hope you have a great week!

Love, Michael
View from his new apartment (Pension)

Close-up of the sky view from his Pension
 Dear Mom,

Thanks for all the updates about the family. Sounds like you guys are all doing well with the kids. Just remember to stay patient and that the best way to help is to make sure that they know that they are loved. There´s a story in the Liahona that I have read a couple times about a mom that needs to help her teenage son who´s got a ton of problems with drugs and all sorts of other things and when she prays for an answer it came to her mind that Jesus never yelled at her no matter how badly she screwed up and he never yelled at anyone else either. So she started doing that, she just told her son ¨i love you¨A lot and after a while he started to get his life back together and to repent. Just show them love and always try to help them. Don´t lose your patience and never yell. Just guide them gently and lovingly and they will come around. The good thing is that you have the opportunity to stop the downward spiral. I´ll send you some of the other pictures that i have of the apartment and things. And when i have pictures of me you´ll get those too. Love you tons!

Love, Michael

Monday, March 10, 2014

Divisions with the APs

Dear Mom,

Fun Graffiti in Comodoro
Thanks for the emails and the cool quotes. Those dreams sound really interesting, thanks for sharing them. I haven´t been trying to develop any different talents here too much because I haven´t thought about it before. But, now that I think about it I think that one of my talents is turning out to be talking to new people in the street. I had divisions with the assistants Saturday and there I learned a whole lot about how to better reach the people and to make a better first impression and now I'm starting to get good at it as I have been practicing. It´s been really cool to see that. i´ll let you know if I find anything else that I think may be a cool talent. Love you guys tons and hope you have a great week.

Love, Michael
Cool Graffiti

Interesting Monument

 Dear Dad,

Yes we do have a map like that and I have set up my CD player and camera and they are working amazingly well. Thanks a ton for those. I am now totally better from my food poisoning and I feel great. The updates from the week are that the weather is starting to change. I am starting to walk around with a sweater and long sleeves now. I can´t wait to see what a winter is like here in Argentina. It´s going to be awesome. The cool things that happened this week are that we got to go on divisions with the Assistants on Saturday night and with Elder McAllister I found a ton of people that are very prepared. We found one guy named Ricardo that let us into his house off of the street and was very receptive of the message and we got to set a baptismal date with him! That was one of the coolest things that has yet happened to me on my mission. Elder McAllister jokingly told me that I needed to have more faith and we'd find people and then later he told me that it really was a miracle. I also learned a lot about how to do contacts better than what I have been doing. I think that will help me a lot with the work here. The other really cool thing that happened this week is that we have really started working with the members and bringing them to lessons. The mission has a program called MMT which is Members Missionaries Temple and we meet up with the members once a week and go visit less active families. It really works and it brings a whole lot of energy to the wards that do it. I really think that we´ll be able to get a temple here really soon. We´re getting close too. We only need one or two more stakes and we can get a temple. It´s crazy awesome. Outside of that not a whole lot is changing here. I found my first family of "snakes" or investigators that just love the missionaries and not the lessons and Elder McAllister said that they were staring me down "like a fat boy on a cupcake" Which is odd. I have never had anything like that before. We went back to visit them with our ward mission leader and his wife but they weren´t at home so we´ll have to visit them later. My ward mission leader is awesome because he is way willing to go out and work with us and it´s the best. They also gave us dinner last night which was light but good. We had Malta and bread with Jam and butter. Delicious! I love Malta. It´s like coffee without caffeine and it´s amazing. That´s really the update for this week. Love you guys tons and hope you have a great week.

Love, Michael

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Transfer Complete - La Prensa Area with Elder Abarca from Peru

Dear Dad,

Thanks for the emails and the advice/support. They are really appreciated. My new companion is Elder Abarca, he is from Peru and he´s only been in the mission two weeks longer than me. My area is La Prensa and it´s more inland. I can see the ocean from my area but I would have to take a bus to get to it. WE do have some investigators right now. They are from Bolivia and it´s a huge family that we are working with. The main problems that they have are that they need to get married and they need to go to church. My chapel right now is being renovated and that is going to take til the end of the month to finish and in the mean time we are going to a chapel that´s about 15 minutes away in car. And on Sunday we have to coordinate a ton to get rides for all of the people that can´t drive themselves. The problem is that a lot of the members with cars weren´t here last week and so we had to really scramble and my companion and I were basically hitchiking to get a ride to church. It was definitely interesting. My transfer experience was interesting because I went in bus and traveled 6 hours and of those 6 hours 5 of them were spent talking to Elder Blatter. He was my zone leader and now he´s a district leader in my zone. There´s a whole lot of weird stuff about why they dropped him from zone leader to district leader but he seems happy now so it doesn´t really matter to me. I heard from him basically the history of his mission and all of the things that he learned as a missionary. It was way cool to be able to talk to him and now we´re really good friends. He gave me the advice to always love my companion and to always try to have fun. The other main thing that he told me is that I should take what I learned in my last area and try to build off of that here in Comodoro. I think it´ll be really cool to see how that works out for me. The main updates from the area and from the week are that we had interviews with the president yesterday and he told me that he basically wants me and my companion to be co companions. Meaning that he gave me permission to help my companion work the area the best way possible. My companion has not had the best experience with his other companions and because of that he had really no idea of how to work an area by himself so now I´m helping him learn how to be a missionary in the best way possible and I´m also trying to work the area. I respect him a lot as a person because of the things he´s done for me and for other people but I can tell that he doesn´t have a lot of experience as a missionary. The other main thing that happened was that I got sick on Monday. I drank some juice in a member´s house that hit my stomach wrong and I was throwing up all night and finally at about 3 in the morning my stomach started to calm down. Right now I just have little to no appetite and I don´t really trust a lot of the food or water anymore. My companion was awesome though because he stayed up all night with me and he cleaned up the mess I made in the bathroom. I am way glad that he was willing to do that for me. I´m doing a lot better now though minus my appetite. I think that I´ll be fine though. Just another wonderful experience that comes from being on the mission. =) Love you guys tons! Have a wonderful week.
Last photo of Trelew Zone

Rain Flood Taken by another Elder

Trelew Zone having Lunch

Trelew Zone Goodbyes
  My pension is tiny but good. It´s less than half the size of the pension I had in Trelew but it´s comfortable. I have pictures but the computer is being weird so I´ll send them to you next week. I have been taking charge so far and I have helped my companion become a lot more organized and he seems to be doing better as an Elder now which is good. It´ll be fun to see how things play out this transfer as far as that´s concerned. Thanks for the advice though, I really do appreciate it.

Love, Michael

Dear Mom,

Thanks for the email and the updates about the family and everything. I love hearing from you guys. The move was really interesting for me. It´s the first time that I have changed areas and companions and it´s been a bit of an adventure. My pension now is less than half the size of the one I had in Trelew but it´s comfortably small. I have pictures but there´s something odd with the computer and I can´t send them to you guys this week. I´ll just see if I can send a lot of pictures next week instead. My companion is interesting. I have a lot of respect for him as a person and we get along well together but he´s a little bit odd. He does some things that make me wonder if he´s really being serious or if he´s just not thinking. But he´s fun. He makes the days a little bit happier and more interesting. So I´m enjoying things. The new area that I have is really big. It takes us about an hour to walk from one limit of the area to the other which is crazy and when I got here we had just about nobody to go visit but now our schedule is getting filled out with people that we can go teach and we´re also finding new people. The work here is odd because there are days when things go just about perfectly and then there are days when it seems like little to nothing is going well. But I think that this area is definitely one that if worked right and prepared can be one that will lift the spirits of whatever missionary comes into it which is really cool. So, as of right now my goal is just to get this area prepared for whatever missionary comes into it next. It´s going to be interesting to see how that turns out for me in the next couple of weeks. I also bought myself a pillow yesterday and it is the greatest thing ever. Last night I had the best night´s sleep that I have had in weeks. I love my pillow! Thanks for the money that you sent me. I love you guys a ton. The other thing that I have to tell you is that I got sick for the first time in my mission on Monday night and I was throwing up til about 3 in the morning. That was an experience that I do not want to repeat. I forgot how much throwing up takes out of your body. I think that I dropped a couple pounds that day and I feel really tired right now. But, I´m starting to get better and at the very least I´m able to keep food down again. The water here in Comodoro is not to be trusted. My companion and I are figuring out a good way to get around that though by buying or boiling the water that we are going to drink which is fantastic. Crazy things in the mission. I love you guys tons and hope you have a great week. Talk to you again on Monday.

Love, Michael