Monday, September 28, 2009

Dinner and a Movie

We took the Elders who received the most baptisms and statistics to lunch today and then they went to the mission home and watched a movie with popcorn. The movie was quite action packed- "The Life of President Gordon B. Hinckley."
The food was fantastic and the association was sweet. It was a joy to be with our Elders who have been working so very hard. The desserts were almost as sweet as our Missionaries. Elder Meldrum "almost" finished his 480 gram steak, but Elder Bills went for quality and his steak cut through like butter. Beef just will never be the same in the states.
(left) Elders Galicia, Crossa, Bills (right) Elders Meldrum, Pedersen (a lucky companion who had no where else to go), Mamani, Coronel

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Spring in Argentina

We woke up Sunday morning to snow. You can see the results on the foothills. It is like spring in Utah, you never know if it will be warm or cold. The great part though is that our snow melts as soon as it hits the ground. Today we are back to warm and sunny. We are in a drought and driving home from San Luis this week we saw too many vineyards dusty and dry. The rain I am sure helped the grapes to start blossoming.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Visit with President Mitillo in San Luis

Our travels took us to San Luis (East) for a meeting with the Stake President and our Zone Leaders. President Mitillo and his wife met us Thursday afternoon and brought us on a tour of San Luis, and where the President feels the growth of San Luis is headed. This picture is taken over one of the passes, looking out into the valley of San Luis.
President Mitillo and his wife were gracious enough to make sure President saw a horse racetrack, since they knew of his love of horses. Not the best picture of a racetrack, but there must be stadium seating for every good racetrack and I wanted to include a picture of President and his wife.
Every large city has it's monument in honor of their independence. I have in previous pictures shown Cerro de la Gloria which is in Mendoza. This is the entrance to San Luis's monument depicting the freedom of oppression. As San Martin swept over the Andes from Chile, he gathered an army to fight his battles. When San Martin got to San Luis, he took all the men from the city. He left only the very old, and very young. In the tunnels you will see plaque after plaque with thousands of names of the men who were forced to leave their families and homes and march with San Martin.

We stayed in a lovely hotel on this large lake. Around the lake is a racetrack for formula cars. As I drove up the canyon to the lake, all of a sudden the road turned into a raceway, with tires on the sides and pit stop areas. So the actual road you travel on circling the lake is the race track. They had hoped to win world attention and have racing here in Argentina, but up to now the city has only hosted nation racing.
O.K. this is a prize. Riding slowly around the streets in a small sleepy town (we were checking out for future missionary work) was this great bus. They had a loud speaker advertising their wares. All of the things you see above and on the bus are for sale. The back of the bus was open and on the tail gate were numerous pots and pans. It was so cute I just had to take a picture.
The old train station in the town.
This irrigation ditch went forever. It reminded me of the ditches in Utah where my Grandmother Naylor use to live. It didn't matter what time of day, or night, you had to set your alarm and open the gates when it was your turn. Great memories.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sights around San Rafael

How many times have you thought about the majesty of the Andes Mountains. We drive along them every time we travel the mission. It was a hazy day, but a good reminder of the magnificent peaks, loaded with snow.
Cute little church in Tunuyan

Once in a while I take a photo that I think should be made into a postcard. This is one of them. The countryside was so beautiful. The trees are just starting to get their leaves. Spring is here.

This house sits probably 50 miles from any other structure. It is right off the freeway, and reminds me of a pony express stop. We are talking real desert, no trees, for hundreds of miles.
This home also is all by itself 50 miles from any town. The Argentine flag is always flying.

The men just had to stop at a tack shop to check out the horsie gear. Elder Squires (middle) works on a church ranch in Florida (largest east of the Mississippi over 300,000 acres)
Probably the largest rattlesnake skin I have ever seen, pinned to the ceiling of this shop.
Cervantes, the owner of the shop shows Jim some of his wares. They make custom things in leather, raw hide, and metals. He was delightful to talk with and was so proud of his family run business.
You can't come to Argentina with out seeing some gauchos. We got to visit with them and find out a little about their lives.
These two gauchos are working men. They are very proud of their clothing. Those boots are all soft leather, no hard sole. They are wide at the top to tuck your pants into them. There is a strap at the ankle that actually keeps the boot on. Look at the stirrups. You can't see it, but he has the traditional knife tucked against his back under his belt. The wool pad under his homemade saddle (no horn) is about 4 inches thick. The halter is raw hide, very decorative.

September Zone Conference

Our Thanksgiving Transfer Contest (wish you could have seen the video) presented by our Indian (Elder Armstrong) and Pilgram (Elder Squires)
Yes, Elder Crunkelton you have only a few weeks left in the mission, stay away from my Hermanas.
Happy Missionaries, Elders Smith, Cabranes, Reynolds
Elders Crunkelton, Williams, Rabanal, Morgan, Cox
Elders Wetzel, Wiest
Visitor, Elder Sorensen, visitor, Elders Sanchez, Jespersen, BriceƱo
Elders Squires, Medina, Smith, Wells
Pretty Ladies
Hermana Pintos, Arrieta, Me, Adams, Warren
Blue ties- Elders Nieve, Manqui, Lambert
Reddish ties- Elders Guevara, Moriarty
Brown ties- Elders Budge, Newbold (matching Christmas ties)
Green ties- Elders Slater, Squires, Conti, Bodily, Bills
Yellow ties- Elders Pedersen, Rojas, Gimenez, Mamani, Hogland, Boudrero
Blue ties- Elder Brown, Ascheris, Coronel, Armstrong, Nieve, Berezay, Ayer, Sargent, Lambert, Ahmad

Elders Stevenson, Davis, Ashby, Lewis
Hermanas White, Arcos, Elders Armstrong, Chase, Matson
San Juan (Elders Knight, Duel) and Chimbas (Elders Martin, Cardus) Zones
Mendoza (Elders McNees, Contreras) and Godoy Cruz (Elders Castellon, Rossi) Zones
Guaymallen (Elders Mayta, Workman) and San Luis (Elders Fuentes, Whiteford) Zones
Maipu (Elders Mendoza, Toledo) San Martin (Elders Sargent, Lambert) Valle de Uco (Elders Slater, Manqui) Zones
SR Malargue (Elders Wells, Jespersen) SR Alvear (Elders Clayson, Sanchez) Zones

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Consejos with Zone Leaders and Assistants

A wonderful day with some great leaders of the mission. The day started with brunch at the office, Zone Leader Counsel with a talk from me and President, and then lunch at our mission home. Yes, tacos again. They love them.
(Back left) Elders Manqi, Knight, Contreras, Whiteford, Mendoza, Rossi, Armstrong (AP), Castellon, Cardus, Toledo (middle left) Sanchez, Clayson, Mayta, Wells, Fuentes, Slater, Jespersen, Duel, McNees, Lambert (floor left) Sargent, Martin, Squires (AP), President, Workman.
Elder Duel, Elder Armstrong, Elder Whiteford playing with my camera. They love to leave me these pictures when I am not looking.
Elder Manqi, Elder Knight, Elder Rossi, Elder Castellon, yes I love the photo. Thanks!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Day of Adventure

The lonely road to Villavicencio, we are headed to the hills in the background. This was the old entrance to the road leading to the hotel. The name Villavicencio is a word famous here in Mendoza. It is the name of the brand of water bottles we buy here of the missionaries. The water bottling plant is right before this entrance. Villavicencio has natural sources of mineral water.
The ladies. Sister Jarvis (finances) Me and Sister Brown (nurse). We were celebrating Sister Brown's birthday.
The men. Elder Brown (All around fix it man, runs the bookstore) Elder Jarvis (personal secretary), and President.
Llamas and Alpacas of Argentina can be seen wild in the dessert and mountain areas. This pet was trying to get a kiss, that is until the camera flashed.
Just checking out the Asado (BBQ). You will not find a gas BBQ anywhere in Mendoza. Most homes have these type of barbeque's in their yard.
President standing on the entrance road to the Villavicencio Hotel.
In 1940 the Hotel de Villavicencio was built and was a spa center for visitors around the country. The hotel was closed in 1978. There has been talk that the hotel will be restored and double in size by 2012, but with the recession that may not happen.
Remember Jurassic Park, well this bridge is just as scary to cross, but you had to use it to get to the lovely gardens on the other side of the creek.
These are some of the garden areas that the hotel guests would stroll through. There were numerous stone ponds (dry now), but you could tell that in its day the grounds must have been lovely.
There were numerous areas for wonderful photos. We kept thinking what a lovely place it would be for a wedding.
You can't see it, but the hotel is framed in the arch. I would love to have some gardens like these in the states. The stone work is fabulous and in great shape. They spent a lot of money on this place, it is sad to see it not being used for something. But believe me it is way out in the boonies and I am sure it is too far for the locals. The only ones to visit are tourists. The hotel sits in the mountains and so the air is wonderfully clear and fresh and I am sure is cool in the summer.
A beautiful chapel on the hotel grounds.

The detail on the painting is wonderful. You can see on the left where some of the paint has chipped off. It is sad to see the deterioration.

Coming back from Villavicencio. A beautiful day for a ride.
Next we visited the Las Heras Cemetery. The place was quite large. I have never seen anything like it at all. There were huge buildings that were 4 stories high that all contained these slots where the coffins are placed.
These areas were quite well cared for, and definitely the area where the rich families buried their dead. Below is a picture I took through one of the windows in the mausoleums.
This area went on forever. Many of the crosses are only marked with a number.
Sister Brown reading about a child buried there.

Inside the family mausoleum. There are usually shelves on both sides to hold the caskets. The photos make it very personal. I would love to hear the stories of the lives of these people. A very Italian family, probably came across from Italy and became involved in the vineyards.
Some of the areas were not in very good repair. It looks like many of the coffins have been vandalized. I thought the wagon to carry the coffins was quite unique.