Wednesday, February 25, 2009

One Zone Represents 9 Countries

We had our last zone conference yesterday and decided this photo was a must. Each Elder represents a different country. Elder Berrocal (Columbia) Elder Smith (Canada) Elder Jensen (USA) Elder Sander (Uruguay) (me and President) Elder Anaya (Mexico) Elder Mendoza (Honduras) Elder Fuentes (Chile) Elder Aparcana (Peru) Elder Mathier (Argentina)
These three Elders will be having their Patriarchal Blessings this week by the local Patriarch- Patriarca Cristeche. Elder Aparcana (Peru) Elder Castellon (Columbia) Elder Mendoza (Honduras).

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Zone Conference week- February

When asked who had the best zone in the mission, some of them were quick to humbly reply "WE ARE."

When asked if they were obedient to the rule about staying their distance from Hermanas- this was their response.
When asked if they liked zone conference and seeing their friends- well, you can read the reply in their faces...and the great meal by Adrianna Rastelli always makes them happy.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Area Conference Meetings Feb. 12-15

We arrived in Buenos Aires and stayed with the Bentons over night, and left in the morning by ferry to Colonia Uruguay, across the Rio de la Plata. We took this picture at the top of a hotel in Buenos Aires. The city is huge, 3 million inside the city and 10 million in the metropolitan area, making it one of the 10 most populated urban centers in the world.
It has taken him 37 years, but Jim is finally on the shores of his first mission (Uruguay/Paraguay in the old days). It was nostalgic to be back and for him to remember the familiar landscape and people. Memories flooded back as he spoke of his various escapades, and also the dangers that existed back then. It made me very happy to hear him speak in almost reverenced tones about the experience that changed his life and started him on a firm foundation in the church.
President and I in our casual clothing, arriving in Colonia Uruguay. The Sheraton we stayed in was lovely, right on the Rio de la Plata. The river separates Uruguay from Argentina, and we traveled about 30 miles by boat, but the largest span is 137 miles wide at the mouth where it opens into the Atlantic Ocean. This picture just doesn't look quite right with the brown water behind us. I am so use to the blue water of the ocean.

Iglesia Matriz, the oldest church in Uruguay dating from 1695-99. Inside the church on the wall near the altar were little silver charms of arms, legs, feet etc. They were presented to the church by patrons who were healed by the various Saints. These charms represented the portion of the body that had been healed.
This street is a typical street in the historic city. Notice how irregular the cobblestone street is. Some of the stone looks like petrified wood they are so old. I am with our dear friends Pres. and Sister Benton from BA West Mission, one of the presidents that came out with us in July 2008.
Puerta de la Ciudadela, is a drawbridge built in 1745 by the governor to safeguard the walled city. This portion has been restored, which leads to the historic district.

More of Colonia Uruguay

The Plaza de Toros or bullring was built in 1910 and saw only 8 bull fights before bullfighting was prohibited in 1912. The ring was part of a huge complex including a hotel and racecourse. Only the racecourse is still functioning. I included this picture because as an animal lover I thought that this was quite a lesson. There must have been a woman president that year who also didn't like all that gore.
Colonia has beautiful old buildings. Just to give you a little history of the city it was founded in 1680 by Portugal, but traded hands with Spain five different times before it finally became an independent country in 1828.
Standing on top of the lighthouse El Faro, constructed in 1857 from stones from the ruins of Convento de San Francisco. It gives you a great view of the city.
Valentines night there was a lovely dinner and dance for us all to enjoy. To the right, Elder Aidukitis and Luisa, Pres. Wilson and Emolyn (BA MTC) Pres. Bradley and Tammy, Elder Spitali and wife.
The original group from July 2008 MTC. We are still alive to tell the tale. Left- Pres. Villalba, Pres. Benton, Pres. del Castillo, Pres. Lindahl, Pres. Northcutt. This is our second area conference together.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Consejos with Zone Leaders and Assistants

The day started at 10:00 with a brunch- sandwiches, facturas (pastries), banana, juice. We then have a meeting and training from 10-3 which consists of inspirational talks by Hermana and President, and then training by the Assistants. We jump started March Madness with the Assistants video of them in uniform playing basketball. It was great. March Madness is a copy of the Sweet 16, Elite 8, and Final 4. Guess what they have to end up with- you're right 4 baptisms. We end with testimonies. Then they are all driven to our home where they partake of my famous tacos! Homemade salsa, guacamole, shredded beef, and chocolate brownie cake and ice cream. It takes hours to prepare, but it is worth it. The end results is shown below.
Top left-Elders Leal, Morgan, President,Sullivan, Jensen, Parry, Maxfield, Moisko, Armstrong, Malakai, Mathier. Bottom left-Elders Squires, Maineri, Hawks, (Assistants- Elders Anaya, Pedersen, Rubiolo, Sander) Phippen, Benetiz, Slater.
Can I just say how proud I am of these young men. The Presidents loves these young men like they were his own.
As you can see, the jello, pasta salad, fruit salad, ranch dressing bowl, are all wiped clean. The only thing left are a few chopped tomatoes. They ate 4 kilo's of beef, two full brownie cakes, and 2 kilo's of icecream, along with all the fixings. If it wasn't so fun to see them eat, I wouldn't make that much.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Night Dinner with Assistants

The Assistants come in each weekend from "lands far off" and have dinner and a meeting on Sunday evening. We had ravioles for dinner, chau chaus (green beans), ensalada lechuga, and ensalada fruita, and of course pan (bread). I even made mom's lemon glaze cake just to remind me of the old family home evening days at the Brown's. It's conveninent to have an ice cream parlor two blocks down, so atleast buying ice cream has never been a problem.
Elder Pedersen (Argentina) Elder Rubiolo (Argentina) Elder Sander (Uruguay) Elder Anaya (Family Mexico, raised in St. George)
They all look happy because I insisted they have seconds!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The End of a Long but Rewarding Week

If we look a bit tired, it is because we were. Last night we went out to dinner with two amazing missionaries and their parents. The West's on my right, Elder West next to President. The Hoskins are in the back, with Elder Hoskin next to Elder West. We know why these missionaries were so wonderful, because they came from such great families. It is a joy to be apart of their lives for one last time before they go. Both were leaders in the mission and we expect the same in their future.
I wish you could have all been there for the testimony meeting of these 21 departing Elders. Tears were flowing, and you could feel the volume of the spirit penetrate each heart. As some of the Elders spoke I could see the majesty of their futures, and the impact they will continue to make. The mission isn't the is the beginning of the new awakening to the depth of work that still needs to be accomplished in Father's kingdom. Back left- President,Elders Peralta, (me), Aragon, Hoskins, Erickson, Bennion, Manning, Elford. Middle left-Guerrero, Flake, Newman, Mohor, Arrario, West, Duarte, Gasser, Ruiz. Bottom left- Elders Bingham, West Schwartz, Macias, Pereyra.
Unannounced or prepared, they joined together to sing the mission song just one more time. Not a dry eye anywhere. If this experience doesn't impact their lives, nothing will. The sermon was worth a thousand words if spoken. But it wasn't. Just Elders slapping each other on the back and giving multiple hugs, not wanting the moment to end and have to really leave the room that was so thick with the spirit. I tear up just thinking about it. Oh I hope each of our new missionaries will have this experience.
I like to do my own cooking, and the missionaries don't seem to mind. The viejitos usually get chicken, but because the new missionaries arrived so late in the evening they didn't get their dinner at the mission home. So these Elders had to eat the lasagna because I had already purchased the groceries. It seemed to disappear, and the chocolate cake and flan and dulce la leche icecream. All gentlemen they are. Even cleaned up after themselves. Somebody's mother did a really good job in teaching.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Army of Helaman has arrived!

Elder Bateman was the last to arrive. Better a day late than never. He tried to caught up with the group in Buenos Aires, but the airlines just wouldn't cooperate. He missed the training, but I am sure all will be well, because Elder Bateman came with enthusiasm and a desire to work.
We received 8 Latino's, 8 Gringo's, and 2 Gringa's. Don't they look clean and polished...and oh a bit tired from 2 days of travel (for some). All except for our wonderful Elder Swainston (second from right) who is returning to our mission, after going home for health reasons (That took some work on President's part to convince Salt Lake). But one must fight for those important things- like one of the most powerful missionaries the mission has had.
Left Sister Maucotel, Elders Bills, Mitma, Davis, Sister Flake, Elders Paz, Reynolds, (back) Elder Hurst, Ahmad, Alfonso, Salazar, Rodriguez, Cabellero, Nieve, Mamani, Swainston, Mendoza
Our gringa's, Hermana Maucotel and Hermana Flake. Can we just duplicate these two. They are here for all the right reasons, to work, to love the people, and to make an impact on the world. And they will!
Another surprise for a parent at the airport. Elder Bennion was in the office and hitched a ride to the airport to help pick up Elder Bateman. Elder Bennion's parents arrived at the same time as Elder Bateman. Elder Bennion's mother Sister Carter held on to her son for almost 15 minutes and didn't want to let him go. Elder Bennion was one of the finest missionaries we had, and I guess his mother knew it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Beginning of the Week of Change

This is the start of the week when the new missionaries come and old missionaries leave. We were able to pull off a surprise with Elder Flake's parents at the airport. They came in early, and Elder Flake was in the office that day and so we brought him with us to the airport. We greeted his parents, and had Elder Flake come from behind and tap is mom on the shoulder and ask for money. She turned around and gave off quite a squeal. Brother Flake is a US Senator from Arizone, and Jim was a little leary of him traveling around Mendoza without language ability. Tonight our new missionaries (17) will arrive at 9:00. Too late for the usual dinner at President's home and so we will take them to McDonalds on their way to their pensiones. Don't feel too bad for them they receive a large meal at the MTC in Buenos Aires for lunch. We will not take pictures until tomorrow with them. Stay tuned!