Friday, May 12, 2017

May 2-May 8

This was a really cool week. We had a thing called La Capilla Abierta this week which is basically where we open the church up and send invitations to all of Santa Elena to come and see how it is. In the chapel, there are posters where the sister missionaries explain the Restoration, BOM, and the plan that Heavenly Father has for us. Afterwards, they go to the baptismal font, where two elders explain baptism and how this covenant will clean them from their sins with the proper authority and start them on the path of everlasting happiness. Afterwards, they can see what the relief society does for activities and the things they bake and the bags and clothes that they make by hand just for fun. We had about twenty missionaries doing this with us from other areas in the mission. It was really fun to see other missionaries, especially the ones in our zone. The last transfer, there was only one change in the zone. Our zone is made up of 12 missionaries, six from Santa Elena and six from Hernandarias. I was with Elder Cubas that morning, the new elder in our zone, from Peru and we were passing out invitations in one of the areas in Santa Elena together and it was a lot of fun. I´m learning to understand people better and the native missionaries are really helpful, because they know quite a bit of English and when I have a question they can help me. Anyways, la Capilla Abierta was really cool and was an awesome experience and we received a lot of references for people to teach.

Cool experience: We taught a guy named Exequiel this week and he is 22 years old and used to play professional soccer for one of the teams in Argentina, but got in a motorcycle crash about a year ago and forgot everything. He was in a coma and had to re-learn how to walk and talk and do everything. Now he is okay, but he still is recuperating with walking and things like that. He shared a really cool experience with us. He said that when he was in his coma, he went up to heaven and saw Christ and everything was completely white. When he saw Christ, he came to him and gave him a big hug that was really strong. The next thing that happened was that he opened his eyes and was back on earth. He says he doesn´t know why, but now, when he sees people that are sad or need help or something bad happens, he goes up to them and touches their heads and afterwards, they feel better for some reason. He said that he was going to do it to us, but he felt like he didn`t need to because we were already okay and that there was something different about us. I don´t know what that is, because he technically doesn´t have the priesthood, but he has a strong testimony that it was Christ who he saw during his coma.

This is what happened this week with me. I don´t have too much time, but I am super excited to skype next week! Thanks for all of the stories Dad haha! I read them to my companion and he laughed a lot. You guys are the bomb dig and I hope that the weather warms up and that you all can have a great week! 

Love, Denver

April 25-May 1

Sorry if this email isn´t that exciting this week because I have a lot of stuff to do! But this week went by pretty quick and I learned a lot about who I am as a missionary. I´ve been trying so hard to be obedient and follow the mission rules and just do everything that I´m supposed to, but I don´t think I´ve been too patient with myself either. I´ve determined to just chill and really want to serve instead of worrying if I´m doing everything right. We have some great investigadors and families right now!

La familia Alegre: There are three daughters and the mother that we are teaching, but there are nine kids in total. They really want to follow Christ and came to church with us this past week!

La familia Centurión: There are certain investigators that you know are prepared by the Lord to receive his message and this family is one of them. We are teaching Damián, Lautardo, and Esmaralda. They are all siblings and Lautardo came to church last week for the first time! 

La familia Wienzetel: Kristina is the mom and she has three younger kids, but she is awesome! We had a cool experience with her the past week. We were praying Saturday night to help our investigators remember to go to church Sunday and right when we finished the prayer, we got a text from Kristina! She asked what time church was and it was way cool! And then she didn´t go the next day... darn it. But she told us that she was all ready to go but was too nervous so we´re going to walk with her next week.

These are just some of our families, but we have a bunch of really good investigators that we just need to take the next step with them and help them work towards baptism.

I´m excited to start winter soon and be able to wear sweaters. Right now since it´s fall, even though it´s still probably at least 70 degrees, the leaves are falling off of the trees. It rained a few days ago for like the whole day and we got soaked, but what are you going to do. At least I have plastic bags around my scriptures haha. 

Slowly but surely, the language is coming and I can understand people a little better. I´m starting to be able to have short conversations with people. When we teach, it´s not as hard, because I can understand what the investigators say based on what my companion says afterwards, and it´s easier for me to talk than understand.

Thanks so much for the emails mom and dad. There are six missionaries in Santa Elena. It sounds like the pet fence has been a pain in the rear!! But it makes me feel a little better that maybe I wasn´t the only one getting soaked this past week. Every once and a while I think about how fun it is to go to the AAU games and just be with our family. I hope your shoulder is okay Savannah : ( Hopefully nothing is wrong with it and that you will feel better soon. Austin, it sounds like you are the man and doing really well in basketball and that your team made Bob go crazy! I can´t wait to see you guys play when I get back even though I will probably be terrible haha! 

Dad I could download Life is a Game of Football, but it like played backwards for some reason and I couldn´t do the one from Bruce R. McConkie, so if you could maybe send them again that would be great!

Next week I will know when we skype!! I´m way excited for that, but you will know next week for the time. 

Sorry this email was kind of boring this week, I hope all of you keep doing great and have a great week! Love you all!!!


April 18-24

This week was greaaaat! I honestly cannot believe that it is already P-Day again. When you have a baptism coming up you are really busy and we had a lot of activities as well. On Tuesday, we had splits and I was with Elder Henriquez from Brazil. We had a lot of fun together and I learned a lot from him. Elder Kotter is from Jordan, Utah. He loves to play basketball. It´s his dream. I can tell that he is not the same person as when he left his mission and I´m excited for the time when I can notice a change in myself. This week, I tried to really want to do the things of the mission because I wanted to, not because I had to. I am learning that everybody starts at ground zero and little by little, they grow. It will be cool to see with time that I won´t be thinking too much to talk or understand people, and that I will be able to think of scriptures to relate to investigators. I am really appreciating my study times because I have realized that there is a lot about the gospel that I don´t know, and it has been fun to learn more.

The baptism of Nicolas and Estella was really spiritual! I had not been to a baptism in a long time, but it really is an act of saving souls. We had many members from the church come and support. Also, there was three other investigators by other Elders that were baptized and it was really cool. Nicolas is 19 and Estella is 20 and they have a son named Ian. They were married on Wednesday and baptized on Saturday. Nicolas never gives me a straight answer so it is really difficult to know the real answer when I don´t know Spanish very good. His full name is Rodrigo Nicolas Gonzalez and I was really nervous when I asked him for his full name in the baptismal font. He went on with Rodrigo Nicolas Ramon Sabatian ... etc. was... not... funny.... haha. But on Sunday when the five investigators received the spirit, it was just like wow! We had so many people in church too, like 111 I think! Usually I think we have like 40-50. It was a great weekend.

This week treated me good. We had a service project building a house of one of the sisters which was really fun and afterwards, we had hamburgers! Little things like that make me really happy, but to be honest, the food is really good here. I´m loving Argentina and I feel like I´m getting more used to things every week.

Savannah congrats on your ACT score! I´m glad that Travis´s family is doing good, I´m really excited for him because I think that he will really enjoy the MTC. In like two weeks he´s going to be in his mission! I really think he will do a good job. Hopefully the next week is a little more exciting, but thanks for writing me every week! I really enjoy receiving emails from the family and seeing how everybody is. I can´t wait to skype for Mother´s day, that will be so cool! Have a great week!!!

Love, Denver

April 11-17

Sounds like everybody had a great Easter! It was a little weird for me because everyday is kind of the same so I kind of forgot that it was a holiday because we were out walking around and teaching everyday. So I guess that helped with being homesick and things like that, but I feel okay. In Argentina, they call the week of Easter the Semana Santa and it´s kind of an all week thing. In Santa Elena, I didn´t notice too many celebrations, but it could be because they don´t have much here. There´s like no work in Santa Elena. Either you have a kiosco, (small store in the front room of your house so that people can look through the window and see what they want), or you fish everyday and eat and sell your fish, or wash people´s clothes etc... but yeah there´s like nothing for jobs here except for the very few stores. 

This week was really good and went by really fast! And just so you know, we have been followed by Hermana Dog for the past week. She sleeps outside of our apartment and everything. To be honest, we´re sick of her because she likes to jump on us and everything during lessons. Last Tuesday, we had a lesson with one of our investigators, Maria, who is with her boyfriend and two year old daughter. They used to have a little pet owl that could fit in your hand, but we came to find out that their daughter, Megan, picked it up, threw it down, and.... stomped on it. The owl is no longer 😭. Anyways, we were talking to her about the importance of reading and praying about the Book of Mormon and invited her to do so again, because it´s something that she hasn´t been doing. She said she would if she had her book. Apparently, Megan ripped it up and ate it. I don´t know what is going on with her daughter, but she is like a little beast haha. Anyways we gave her a new one and told her to be careful.

Saturday, we had baptisms! One of the other sets of elders in our district had two baptisms on Saturday and so that was really great to see and it was fun for me, because I haven´t been to a baptism in a while. The baptisms were for two kids whose parents have been less active, but are coming back. It was really neat to watch them, and we had a lot of support from the branch.

We have two baptisms coming up this week for Nicolas and Estella. They are getting married on Wednesday and I'm excited for that. They have their interviews tonight and I feel like they are ready. They keep our commitments and they are just really cool. Also, they are about are same age, so we can relate to them in other ways too. They have a one year old baby Ian that almost died when he was born and he gets sick a lot. He is okay now, but sometimes the weather really gets to him, but I don´t think I've ever seen a happier baby. They really have a special family and it´s been great to talk about eternal families with them. 

It really sounds like you all have had a great week and I´m glad you guys could have some family time. Hopefully you can keep enjoying the weather and that school, sports, and work keeps going well. I really love our family and I appreciate our family more since I've been gone. It´s weird to think that I will skype home in like a month!!!

Love you all!!!

April 4-April 10

This week has been my best so far! I know that I only have three weeks in the field, but I feel like I´ve been the most happy, and I´ve really been praying to have excitement to go out everyday and I definitely have had more excitement this week. I´m just accepting the fact that I can´t understand anything haha, but the members are really helping me. 

The beginning of this week was really spiritual and the rest of the week was just kind of weird, but good. At the beginning of the week, we found some new investigators. There is something really special about them though. Jacqueline has a boyfriend and a little kid and we left her thinking about baptism. She says she wants to read the BOM first to see if it is true, which is awesome!! I would rather have investigators say this than say, ¨Yeah sure I´ll get baptized.¨ But never follow through with their comittments. We had several opportunities to share the Restoration which has been awesome. 

We have a lot of baptisms coming up in our area. I think 8 this month! Nicolas and Estela Mariz are like our age and they are getting married next week and they are capos de capos. (Really cool) The other one is Camila which I think is Austin´s age and we are excited for her as well. The others are from the other missionaries in our district, but I´m really excited for the investigators in our area that are going to be baptized. 

The past couple of days, we had a lot of activities. I went on my first exchange with one of the zone leaders which was a blast! However, their area is really far from their apartment. It takes like 40 mins to walk to the area! Elder McCartt and I had a really fun time though. They live more kind of in the country and they have a sweet view of the river. Plus they have hot water!! Ours is cold :( Yesterday, we were looking for people to teach after church from 4-5 and we were about 20 mins away from the church. Anyways, we picked up one of our friends. There is a dog that for some reason only loves the missionaries and I don´t know why, but she decided to follow us to the church because we had to go to branch council and we had a family history activity afterwards. She loves to jump too! Ugh, I´m saving the other pair of pants for my suits for after my mission, because it also rained on Sunday and my suit is just a muddy mess thanks to this dog. Elder Kotter was also getting attacked. Anyways, this dog followed us to the church, waited for us for after branch council from 5-6 and from 6-9 we had a family history activity and she also waited for us then. I had to kick her out of the chapel like 6 times because she wouldn´t get out. Ugh, no dogs in the chapel! She followed us home and waited outside our apartment until this morning and followed us to the bank and went into the bank with us. Man we couldn´t loose her. We finally lost her when we went to do laundry but man it was rough. 

Today was the first day for sweaters and I am enjoying the weather today.

Dad thank you for your email, I love your humor. It´s kind of like having you with me a little bit. I miss you a lot and I think I kind of took for granted your friendship and how much I love you. You are a great example to me. I´m glad you and Pres. Garbig have been able to work on your callings better and I´m glad Travis´s family has had some great experiences. 

Family, it sounds like everybody has had a great week. I´m glad you could go to the play Berks and I hope you are still having fun at school. Austin, Dad told me about your AAU games and I think it is awesome that you had a really good game. Savannah, keep working hard in softball, I´m glad you could have a good time with that this week. Mom, I hope you have had fun with everybody and have been able to relax and just be happy.

I don´t have much time for pictures so I will probably only send a few per week, but I am taking pictures.

The mission is really tough, but it´s going good for me. I love you family, I couldn´t ask for a better one and I´m still trying not to miss you all so much.

You are all the best!!!

Love, Denver

Mar 28-Apr 3

Yeah I´m pretty sure that my wallet is gone gone gone. Inside was my debit card, credit card, and driver´s license. My passport is in the mission office though so I´m okay with that. I like my trainer. He´s a good missionary and we've been doing good at trying to follow the rules. We teach pretty well together and he has been helping me with the language. The past week has been stressful for me with the language. Yo no entiendo nada. I can speak better than I can understand. It was the other way around at the MTC. The people talk pretty fast and everything is just one long slurr. Oh boy... it´s been rough. Argentina has definitely been stretching me and I know that in a few months everything will be a lot better. The beginning is just rough though...its hard imagining my whole mission not being able to understand people. I have faith in God though that this is the place that is stretching me outside my comfort zone so that I can grow into who he wants me to be. 

I´ve just given up on everybody drinking out of my cups and stuff haha. I brought my waterbottle to Conference and I bet fifteen people drank out of it. Oh well :) Speaking of Conference, I was so excited because they told me that I would be able to watch it in English in a separate room so we started watching President Eyring´s talk and then the Branch President said we had to watch it in the other room because the wifi couldn´t have both computers. So I saw four sessions of conference and the priesthood session in Spanish and didn´t understand a thing. So that was no bueno because I was really looking forward to conference. 

I hope Minnie´s leg gets better and that she will be excited to get her cone off. I don´t think I knew dogs could get cancer, but I´m glad you guys caught it when you did. I hope she is happy.

I think I might have already said this, but Santa Elena is like half paved and half not. We don´t have bikes only our feet. My feet are looking gnarly! Not to bad, but blisters and such. After conference yesterday, we were in the pouring rain for like 2.5 hours and nobody was coming outside, because here, we clap outside the house for them to come and nobody was coming. I don´t know why I didn´t wear my hood, I think I liked the rain at first, but my hood was filling up with water by the end of the day. And, we couldn´t see anything because it was completely dark. Most of our area is in the barrios (the houses on the dirt roads, kind of like villages) so we were tromping through mud and everything. We finally had one of our families let us in and we had a lesson with them. Half way through, all the power in Santa Elena went out. We finished the lesson by candlelight. Living conditions in the US are the bomb! I can´t say how much everyday life sounds fun to me right now because I can´t imagine having a hot shower, AC, gas for the stove all the time and just things like that. 

The food here is great though! Milenessa is good and we usually have that with the First Counselor´s family every week. Torta fritas are like scones and they are also really good. Mom you should make dulce de leche! I really like it and you can pretty much put it on anything, like Nutella, but it´s better.

We have about 70 people at church a week I think. The branch here is bigger than Greenville. The members are awesome, the deacons like to talk to me because they know I can´t understand squat, but I still have fun with them because then I start talking in English and they just stare at me like huhhhhh.... the members are really good to me though. Karla Lopez is a member that is like 25. She served a mission in Chile and wants to be an English teacher. Every week we teach English at the church for an hour and she helps me with Spanish and I help her with English.

Sounds like things at home are doing good with sports and activities and everything like that. Good luck in track and softball Austin and Savannah! Thanks for the picture Berkeley and Savannah! I miss you Berkeley I´ll see you in 22 months! I´ve really started to miss each of you and right now it kind of seems like forever until I get to see you all again. I know that´s not how I´m supposed to look at things, but I´m really appreciating everything about my family right now because I love each of you and I couldn´t do this without the support you have all given me. I should be able to add pictures this week. If you can, you can take pictures off to make more room to add more things. I love you guys, have a great week!!!!!!

Love, Denver

Friday, April 7, 2017

Mar 20-27

I apologize in advance because this is going to be short a short email.

Please don´t freak out when I say this, but I´m pretty sure I got pick-pocketed on the bus. I was getting ready to use my passport holder, and I just kind of have a lump in my stomach because I don´t know where it is. Please just help me cancel my accounts or stop them or something because I don´t know what to do about that. I have the emergency money, but I also want to be able to buy stuff here so if you can please find a way to give me money that would be awesome! I know Elder Sandler brought someone a credit card in our mission so maybe you could have the MTC send it with a new missionary. Anyways, yeah I´m still looking for it, but I don't know where it is.

Sorry about that, anyways, I hope I can figure out how to get pictures to you, because I am sending letters in a garage right now and the computer does not recognize my sd card. The traveling was longggg, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Argentina´s landscape honestly looks a lot like Ohio. It´s pretty hot and humid here though right now, but it will start to cool off soon, I think. Like you said mom, I don´t think I really understand the schedule of a missionary quite yet because the days seem pretty long, but I think it also has some to do with not knowing Spanish as well as everybody else. However, I am getting better. My area is Santa Elena in Entre Rios and we are right along the river. Santa Elena is not very big and I actually feel pretty safe here. The people are all really nice and we say hi to everyone we pass and they all are willing to talk. The living conditions are so much different though. Their houses are concrete structures with maybe two rooms. Lots of people are missing teeth and a lot of the old people, if they even have any, only have two bottom teeth. The food is pretty good though so far, but they don´t have many manners! We had lunch the other day with a member and her family and one of her kids just picked up my glass and drank out of it! Then another one did.... and another one. I decided to get water back at the apartment. I love the members though. Santa Elena has paved roads, but the streets for peoples houses do not. They are just dirt roads. Oh and everybody has a scooter, motorcycle, or something like that and the people that do drive.... let´s just say there´s no traffic laws.

I know there´s more, but i don´t have much time. I hope I can get my pictures to you. Sorry again for my cards. I hope we can figure it out. I miss you guys and love you all. Argentina is great and I hope the next weeks will keep getting better.