Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday in Valle de Uco

Saturday was a day to remember for Elder Slater and Elder Manqi Zone Leaders of the Valle de Uco Zone. Their zone baptized 18 that day, and Elder Slater got to confirm them all. These are a few of the 150 people who came out to support the missionaries. Congratulations Valle de Uco- Elders Newbold, Gutierrez, Bills, Coronel, Opheikens, Ramirez, Lambert, Swainston, Nieve, Sanchez. Thanks Elder Miles for your leadership also.

The sign behind them says, "Welcome to the Baptism"
Aren't these angelic faces?

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Week Visit from Elder Shayne Bowen and Sister Lynette Bowen

Sunday before leaving Mendoza we took pictures by the Cerro de la Gloria. The statue represents the army of San Martin crossing the Andes to free Peru, Chile and Argentina.
We are standing on the West Border of our mission. This staged picture shows President and I trying to escape into Chile and being pulled back by the President of the Area (South America South) Elder Bowen. It is all in fun, but you all know there are days when the thought enters the brain.
It was very dark in the very long tunnel which separates Argentina from Chile. The Andes are very wide. We drove into the middle of the tunnel where there is this simple sign telling you are about to enter Chile. The picture is not good because of the lighting, but it was worth a try.
This sign is near the tunnel through the Andes. Santiago Chile is 167 kilometers away, which is about 64 miles.
We were snowed on that day, and it was cold. This picture is taken by one of the ski resorts on our way up the mountain.
This picture is taken in front of the Inca Hotel. It is in past entries on the blog, but not in the winter time. The hotel closed about 7 years ago and was built into the rock. The rooms had water running up through the rocks. It was closed because of the deteriorating walls and floors.
Sister Bowen and I in front of the vendors selling their wares at the Inca Hotel. I bought alpaca scarves for Christmas presents. It is a good memory to show where they came from.
The vendors anxious to take your money. They stand freezing in the cold weather trying to make a living. Their sweaters are made from Llama or Alpaca wool. The llama comes from the Andes and descended from the camel family.
The road to view Aconcagua was closed and so we weren't able to go up to view the peak, but we took pictures from the road. Those of you may remember that Aconcagua is an extinct volcano in the Andes, which stands 22,834 feet and is the highest Mountain in the western hemisphere.
Our ski resort Penitentes, a local resort about an hour and a half from our home. The larger resort Las Leñas is 5 hours from our home, down in the south of the mission near San Rafael Malargue.
Showing the rock formations as we travel up the highway to the pass between Chile and Argentina.
Notice the variation of color in the rocks due to the minerals in the rocks.

We drove a gravel road for almost an hour, traveling north from Salentein Bodega to the pass to Chile. About 20 miles from no where there was this little home with the old Ford Falcon parked in the front. When Ford stopped selling the model in the US years ago, it sold all the machine tooling to Argentina and so for years after, the Argentines have been making and refurbishing these cars. You see them everywhere.
We were coming over a pass on this little gravel road and had this magnificent view of the valley. You can see the road we are headed to down in the valley
Again along this gravel road we saw another house, miles from anywhere. This young lady was riding her horse out to the fields. She was so beautiful we had to stop and take a picture. The coloring of the horse blended into the landscape. The young lady sat proudly upon her horse with the most serene look upon her face.
In the morning we went on a tour of the Salentein Bodega (winery). Their labels are so beautiful I wanted to capture one of them for you to see.
At the Salentein Bodega they were getting ready for a group of art lovers who were coming to an art exhibit at the Bodega. Mr. Pon who is from the Netherlands, the man who built the building, built a world famous art gallery displaying local artists as well as around the world. We saw this group of very exceptionally fancy women walking up the walkway to the bodega as we left. They will have a lecture and tea in this lawn area. Everything in the bodega is quite austere, which you can see in the benches set for tea,(hay bales with crisp white cloths covering them). The wood (on the right) has been started for the Asado (BBQ) for lunch.
The second floor of the Bodega is the area where they store the wine in oak barrels. The building is built in a four sided cross, this compass on the floor depicts the four sided star, each part made of stone from one of the provinces in Mendoza cuyo. If you stand directly in the middle of the square (small gray square in center) when you talk your voice is amplified up into the second story, and you can hear an echo. It is pretty cool hearing the amplification of your voice in your ears. Dividing the building into four areas (like a cross) it is easy for them to divide the different types of wines. The fermentation happens up in the first story, in large steel vats, except for the special wine like the Primus which is fermented in special cedar barrels that they keep for only 8 years and then sell off. The reason for fermenting the wine above, is so that they can use gravity flow through tubing to deliver the wine down into the oak barrels below. There is no pressure used because that creates too much oxidization in the wine which makes it more bitter.
The "Killka" on the grounds of the Bodega is a small chapel that was built as a tribute to nature, the austere chapel was built using only environmentally friendly materials and is built in the stype of the old Andean chapels. Some people were going into the chapel as we left to attend mass. The benches look like they were carved out of cedar wood, the cross behind is silver, and the stone around is slate. The altar is a beautiful granite.
This view is at the Bodega, looking out into the Andes. The grape vines had just been trimmed off and each was hand tied to the wire with a bamboo tie.
After the week of conferences we took the time to go out to dinner on Friday night, and even went home and watched a DVD. The backdrop is the back wall of the restaurant displaying the wine bottle of Mendoza. Elder Bowen had a good sense of humor having his picture taken in front of so many bottles of wine. I am sure we are the only mission in the world that takes it's general authorities to visit wineries. But it you want to experience Mendoza, it has to include it's primary export- wine.

A Wonderful Week with Elder and Sister Bowen

Elder and Sister Jarvis & Elder and Sister Brown (our senior couples) with Elder Shayne Bowen and Sister Lynette Bowen.
Zone Leaders of the Mission Mendoza
(Back, left) Elders Miles, Armstrong (Assistants) Elders Jespersen, Slater, Berezay, Squires, Mendoza, Knight, Lema. (Middle left) Elders Workman, Rossi, McNees, Cardus, Whiteford, York, Castellon, Manqi, Contreras, Mayta (Front left) Elders Martin, Fuentes, Sister Bowen, Elder Bowen, President, Me, Elders Sargent, Clayson.
Maipu Zone
San Martin Zone
San Juan Zone
Chimbas Zone
Mendoza Zone

Godoy Cruz Zone
Guaymallen Zone
San Luis Zone
Valle de Uco Zone
San Rafael Alvear Zone
San Rafael Malargue Zone

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Night On the Town with Gabriel and Diego Páez

We don't take the opportunity to go out much, but we were invited to go out to dinner with the Páez's and we had a delightful time. Bishop Páez is hilarious and because of my lack of Spanish vocabulary, I never catch on to his jokes, but Jim is always laughing. My goal is to be able to understand all the jokes and even be able to give one back. The dessert on the table is a fruit and ice cream sundae. They put cut up fruit (like fruit cocktail) in the bottom and then layer ice cream on the top and lay cookies up the sides and whipped cream. It was an Italian restaurant and so I had pasta and Jim had a steak. We can't say enough about the Argentine beef. You'll never taste anything similar in the states.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Birthday Party for Yemina Rastelli

An Oreo cookie, a blond between two dark headed lovely ladies. Yemina (right) and her cousin Estephania (left)
Nestor Cabrall with Jim after the birthday party. Nestor is in charge of about 80 chapels and all distribution for the area of Mendoza cuyo. He is also a Bishop and so arrived at the party very late. He is a delightful, animated person and adds life to any party.
Nestor's daughter Brisa, who has become a good friend of mine (if I remember to give her a treat when she comes to the office)
Yemina at the party with family. The table was spread with pita bread sandwiches, chicken and palm hearts. The appetizers were cherry tomatoes and cheese on a toothpick, and ham and cheese rolled together. We had non alcoholic drinks, strawberry flavored.
This is a traditional birthday cake in Argentina. It has four layers, and each is soaked in a sweet flavoring. The bottom is peach, the middle brownie, then a layer of dulce le leche, and the top layer was very interesting with meringue inside of it. It is covered in a frosting very similar to our 7 minute frosting made with egg whites and sugar. Then there is a thin layer of chocolate to cover the top.
Yemina with her cake, after singing Feliz Cumpleaño's. Yemina attends BYU Idaho and is home for the summer break. She has been my spanish teacher for the last month and along with Sarina Thomas will be the reason I just might speak spanish when I get home. "Ojalá"

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Tour Of The Mission

Mauro was baptized just a few months ago, found by Elder Hawks but taught by Hermana Arrieta. He comes to church by himself, and he has gone out with the missionaries and "opened the mouth" with a man on the street. He came to the training to help the Assistants demonstrate one of their techniques on finding people in the street and on the bus. Mauro is darling, and has the longest eyelashes, he would melt the heart of any person on the street with his sweet spirit. He is 12 and looks forward to serving a mission one day. His dad (inactive) will not marry his mom and so she can not be baptized.
The is a picture of Elder Malakai and Elder Phippen and I at the entrance to the city San Luis.
The most amazing picture. As we drove from Mendoza to San Rafael we saw out in the field a man plowing his field, with the old style plow of our ancestors. He and his horse were out in the cool winter breeze plowing. We had to stop, I even got it on video. The plow is hard to see, but trust me, it was the kind of plow our great grandparents used. Out here in the countryside of Argentina you would never know it was 2009.
The Diamonte River showing the slow flow of the winter. We receive most of our precipitation in the summer time. You can see the fields of pampas grass stretching for miles. The cattle freely roam in the grass. The sun was beginning to set and we had miles yet to go on the thin two way highway. We would drive for five to ten minutes and not see a car. It is a lonely stretch of road between San Rafael and San Luis.
Indepencia Plaza, the center of San Luis. It was constructed in the early 1930's. Like most plaza's in Argentina, there is a cathedral on one side, a government building on another, a bank and school on the others.
The renovated train station which was built in 1884. It is a beautiful building with it's green corrugated roofs and decorative ironwork.
On the south side of the Plaza Indepencia is the Iglesia de Santo Domingo and its convent built in the 1930's. It is a reproduction of the Moorish style of the 17th century building they replaced. On the front area where it is fenced in, is the excavation of the original footing to the first building.
The provincial Casa de Gobierno- the government house is on the northern side of the main plaza. It has the most beautiful iron doors. The building is quite ornate.
In the center of the city of San Luis is the beautiful 19th century San Luis Cathedral. The provincial hardwoods such as algarrobo were used for the cathedral's windows and frames, and local white marble for its steps and columns. The cathedral was closed so we couldn't go in.
Just a close up of the detail work on the cathedral.
This photo is taken way back on the side street so you can see the full depth of the building, and the rotunda. As we travel the mission and see these old buildings in San Rafael and San Luis, it makes me sad that all the colonial buildings in Mendoza and San Juan were destroyed by earth quakes in the early 1900's. The center of the city in Mendoza is no longer in the same location. In the 1930's they reconstructed the Plaza Indepencia (central Plaza) farther south east. It is now three blocks from the area where we live and where all the main hotels are (Hyatt, Sheraton). I would love to have seen the colonial buildings of this city, it would have brought the history of Mendoza city to life.