17 February 2015

Latest Letters, Dirty Socks and Careless Whisper in an Argentine Barber Shop

16 FEB 2015

Hey Mom!

First of all, the computers cut me off last week so I literally only had time to write you and Dad. I was super bummed too, :/ but this week I'm getting everyone for sure! By the way, I got your letter last P-Day after writing you guys, so its about 3 and 1/2 weeks or so to get mail. I don't know the exact number of days it takes (because everyone gets their mail on P-Day), but that was your first letter to me.

Well now to this week, I have a few stories to tell haha. So since you asked about how the English was coming with the other guys, there was one day of the week we were all doing language study and so I was the only English speaker. I ended up standing up at one point going from one person to the next helping them with English. Needless to say I didn't study Spanish too much that day. For me the language has started to hit a stand still but I've been trying to talk more in regular conversations and most of the time I can barely talk but I've kind of learned that they don't care how my Spanish sounds, so that has helped haha. Speaking of which... The talent show was Saturday "noche de talentos" and like I said before we did a skit about little red riding hood but a little different, I didn't understand most of it, but everyone loved it haha. Plus I was a part of another activity where me and another person said a set of phrases and then there was a different way to do it, like "triste" (sad) for example. I apparently was really funny because of my acting... and my pronunciation, lol everyone liked it haha. We have video but I can't send it so maybe another time.

There were also good spiritual experiences too, one for example was yesterday...when I gave my first blessing in Spanish; I was super nervous! It was for the mother of one of our less active members. I had no idea what I was going to say and I think I repeated myself a few times and I dragged it out for as long as I could. When I finished I felt a little embarrassed, but afterwards when we were going to leave, I shook her hand and I saw that she was crying and the spirit just hit me and that felt awesome! That night we had a family home evening at their house (except I was With Elder Villanueva) and it was super good and completely not what we planned. e read a story from the Book of Mormon then showed a really good Mormon Message (I forget what its called maybe you can find it and put it here, its something like hope through the gospel with a guy standing in the desert for the cover image) Before that we had a lesson with one of our fechas, Brandon. He's interested in learning and I can tell we are really close to something special. He is only 17, but every lesson is getting better. That leads us to today.

That's crazy Curtis is already starting (his mission paperwork) and super weird too! I feel like I just left! And it sounds like you guys are getting busy so just remember to still do the churchy stuff too haha. Well I love you guys and ill talk to you soon.

Street in Darren's area

Hey Dad!

I see you need to update the blog a little haha (and about the pictures I literally usually can't because all of these computers are old and I can't plug in the SD card ANYWHERE! (its kind of frustrating) but things are going good here. I'm still struggling with the language but I've been trying a little extra so I can learn faster. I don't have much time because I made sure to write everyone back again this week because the computers cut me off last week.

Just so you guys know the time is starting to fly for me and I'm having a great time. Things aren't perfect obviously but I'm working. I taped our family picture in front of my Spanish Book of Mormon for our investigadores and me. It helps when I'm lost in the conversations, sometimes I imagine all of you guys are there watching me teach in Spanish and it motivates me. I think about you guys all the time but at the same time I know I need to be here. I love you Dad, make sure everyone knows I love them too and that they don't need to worry about me. : ) I'll talk to you next week Dad.

09 FEB 2015

Hey Mom!

Just a heads up I really do wear my retainer every night, don't worry. It doesn't fit exactly right but its getting there haha. Anyway, I dont know what to tell you about the hard days because there’s nothing to tell, :P A hard day typically means all we did was walk in the sun for hours because all our appointments fall through and no one lets us in during contacting. (Most days include contacting by the way) that has happened a couple times this week, but the weeks are blending together a lot so it feels more like a bad few hours usually haha. Speaking of marking your scriptures, I did the same thing for my Spanish set, I went through each lesson in Preach My Gospel and tabbed scriptures for each section in each lesson. So now I have about 15 mas o menos another 5 tabs per lesson (and there are 6 lessons) next I'm going to start marking some of my favorites . It's a lot of work but it helps me a lot with lessons and some of the language too!

As far as music, my companions have a bunch too so pretty much every time we go to the pension we listen to "Hallelujah" in Spanish haha plus a bunch of other stuff in English too. Overall I think I´m doing good, today I got my personal bank card to work (its so I can buy other stuff I might not really need, I won't spend it all haha). Today I was with Elder Villanueva a la peluquería (barbor shop) and they had music playing and of course guess what song came on.. "Careless Whisper" haha I immediately thought of Dad and you guys haha.

Anyway, I will let you know when something bad does happen don't worry, I'm just a happy person! Not even my first day with robbers was a bad day, (it was a lot to take in) but all i could think of is "that's an awesome story!" Well, as far as our baptisms, we only have one for the 21st, Éster, but we´re having trouble having lessons with her because she's never home so we might need to push hers back to 7 de Marzo with a few of our other investigadors. Oh, also we have a talent show this Saturday too! The Elders along with some of our leaders are "reenacting" Little Red Riding Hood. There are 2 lumberjacks and I am one but we kill everyone and my companion kills me.... then Thriller comes on and we do part of the dance... lol its kind of weird and I don't understand most of it but its funny anyway.

That is about all I can think of right now. If I need anything I'll let you know. (a package of food for example would be nice haha) but really I´m doing great. I love you guys and Ill talk to you soon!

Hey Dad!

For the church address go to lds.org and search there in the "find my ward and stake" part and you can find it or if you search there in Neuquén, it should be the chapel in the top left part of the city! you can try to find it on google maps for street view! (thats how i did it) - I asked him for the address of the chapel.

It definitely is hot here, but its pretty much California weather so I don't have a problem haha. The only problem is we only have one washing machine (in the pension with all 4 of us) and we have to air dry everything so i usually wash my whites every couple weeks...my socks and pants sadly haven't made it there yet haha, I know its kind of gross but hey you got to do what you got to do.

Anyway, the language is getting better, I'm slowly understanding more each week and its getting easier to talk back, but I have a ways to go still. So far I've gotten along with everyone! Well, except for one guy we contacted who was telling us how the stuff where teaching is bad.. I didn't really like him, but I was of course respectful and nice. We asked him if he prayed about the Book of Mormon and he just stared at us for a bit.. then said " I pray for my family every day". I just told him "well our only purpose is to invite you to learn about our beliefs and about the Book of Mormon but the choice is yours whether or not you want to know its true." (something like that in Spanish anyway) and we left. I kind of wanted to share a scripture that says " oh thou fool who says we have a bible and we need no more bible".. but I knew that was a bad idea, haha it was more of an afterthought, plus "El espíritu de contencion, no es mio." (the Spirit of contention is not of God) That was a few weeks ago but that was another experience I had and I'm way better now haha. It's kind of funny the ways people use to try to disprove the Book of Mormon haha. Anyway, pretty much all of the other people are really friendly and helpful.

I'm starting to learn some of the lingo, for example "Che" while putting all your fingers together and moving it forward and back..means "what the heck" or "come on, man" As far as other stuff.. they drink a TON of Tang haha. It's pretty much Tang or a few different sodas they have. I think a lot of it has to do with the humble situations. We have one area that, you just don't go to after 7pm, so fun stuff! I hope you can find a picture of the chapel and stuff, try this in Google maps too "5034 Int. Serrano Alejo, Neuquen" Well i love you Dad, thanks for writing, I'll write you soon!

Darren's Chapel - 5034 Int. Serran Alejo, Neuqeun

02 FEB 2015

Hey mom!

I'll try to answer all your questions but I'm not making any promises haha. I have no idea how many people we taught but it was a decent amount. The ward here is like ours at home but a lot smaller and I don't really know what class we go to second hour, I think that it is Gospel Essentials haha. My Spanish isn't quite there yet. I definitely felt better this week with the language, don't get me wrong, there are many times where i just start zoning out because I'm so lost haha but in general I can definitely see an improvement.

Stories.. well one kid we are teaching , Miguel is 14 years old, and we've only taught him twice but after the last lesson he was a little freaked out about baptism so we pushed his date back to the 7th of March. We don't really have a steady investigator right now because a lot of them are hard to find. We do have one family that is interested. The Mom is named Estér and she has gone to church a few times. We taught her husband once and its looking good. Her brother is actually in the hospital so today we are going to visit him, and possibly give a blessing (if its allowed).

I'm glad you got my box, I was doing everything I could to fit everything but I could not get them underweight so I had to pack a few things to send home. The mail room was closed so I just left the box with our address in front of other Elders that were in our zone haha. I trusted them but idk what they would think of it. Anyway, yes my feet are fine my shoes are still comfortable and the only thing that really bothers me now is the occasional mosquito bite. As far as my bank card I was just trying to make sure it worked :P

I guess now I can tell you a little more about the area.. the thing about dogs being everywhere is completely true haha. It is not uncommon to look down the street and see close to 10 dogs. A lot of people own dogs but I would say about 80% of them just sleep in the street. As far as driving here, I don't think there are many laws, you kind of just do what you want. So as far as the food goes... I haven't exactly reached the "legendary food of Argentina". I am positive that I have rice for at least one meal everyday, and here the only sauce is mayo haha its funny but true, if i ever don't eat rice, I have noodles with mayo. I know it sounds kind of bad but its starting to grow on me haha. The only meat we have usually is Milenasa, which is really thin breaded chicken or sometimes beef.

Well, my district is great, I feel like I laugh all the time! The other day Elder Carlotta was dancing to a song and both Elder Alonzo and Elder Villanueva recorded it, hilarious haha. Their English is pretty funny too, one of us will be talking and Elder Villanueva will say "I don;t care, Shoo fly!" haha. So things are same old same old, busy, occasional mini breakdown, and MUCHA calor, but all is well, todo bien. The weeks are going by faster for me too. Well I love you and I miss you guys, I pray for you guys too! I know its only 6 am so good morning!

Hey Dad,

It has definitely been hot :P But I'm having a good time here. Most of the people here are friendly and we are always taken care of by the members. We;ve had some trouble keeping up with our fechas (Investigators with baptism date) because we can't seem to find them on a regularr basis. We feel really good about a few but the others are ify right now.

I'm glad people are checking the blog! Hey everyone! haha. And happy 20 to you guys! That's kind of weird haha. Hermana Jones definitely had the most pictures so check her blog for sure. Right now, Hermana Jones and Hermana Webb are in Esquel, 15 hours away! I can't really think of any teaching experiences that stood out a lot but I'll let you know when I do. We've had to go find more investigators this week so a lot of our lessons are back to the beginning.

Idk if you'll catch this but in case you don't, I love you, keep working hard and I'll try to attach a more accurate picture of my area haha. Write you soon!

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