Monday, November 30, 2009

San Luis Stake Conference

The last three days we have spoken at 4 meetings. San Luis had two sessions of stake conference each day. These sweet little angels were the choir for the conference. The young lady, third from the right, was the lead singer- the one most mom's are proud of. She sang with all her gusto and lead the others with her strong confident voice. The little one on the right was the one most mom's wonder about- she didn't sing a word but loved being in front of the people. Jim and I spoke at all the conferences, traveling an hour and a half from each building, back and forth. It was a tiring trip. But no matter how tired we were the spirit still supported us and all went well.
The First Counselor's daughter was such a doll. We had lunch between the meetings at one of their homes and this young lady wanted a picture of the two of us. I forgot to take it, but before we left I wanted to get the picture. There is a story though behind the scenes. We always speak at our conferences knowing that we are there to teach the "one" somewhere in the audience. The "one" was there at the afternoon conference. He is the young man looking away at the far right. The Elders brought him up to the stand even though the young man said he couldn't possible speak to the Mission President. When they shook hands the young man started to cry. He cried like a baby using his tie as a hankie. He is a potential missionary who has lacked the spirit and direction but wants to straighten his life out. He was helped that day, and the spirit was there to confirm in his heart that he was now on the right path. The "one" at the morning session was a lady that came up after conference.
It was late as we left San Luis on our 5 hour trip home. These weekends take a lot out of us.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Winner of the Thanksgiving Feast- San Juan Zone

Helpers in the Kitchen after dinner. I regret not getting my camera out and proving to my kids that I found a turkey and cooked it up all by myself. Everything is hard here. No one eats turkey here, so I had to go to the one place in the city where I could order a turkey. They had it for me, a 11.8 kilo turkey (26 lbs.) frozen solid. It took two days just to get it thawed enough to stuff it. We had the usual Thanksgiving feast, minus the yams. The homemade pumpkin pies made from butternut squash I over cooked a bit, but they tasted great. The lemon meringue pie was a flop, their cornstarch isn't the same. We called it lemon pudding. There was not one bit of food left when we were done. They were hungry young men.
The San Juan Zone were the winners of the month long (friendly) competition. They kept track of all their key indicators. They were on a point system, and all the 11 zones worked very hard to win the Thanksgiving Feast at the mission home. We congratulate the Zone Leaders Elder Duel and Martin for their success and great leadership. They had 20 baptisms on Saturday which put them over the top.
(Left back)Elders Rodriguez, Newbold, Johnson, Snow, Reynolds, Rios, Carrasco
(Front) Elders Jones, Crowther, Morinico, Duel, Martin, Martins, Naranjo, Workman, Hollinger

Viejitos (Oldies) November 2009

The bitter-sweet day of saying goodbye to our missionaries. Sister Huzzey on my left was in the MTC when we were serving there and we visited her in her classroom to introduce ourselves when we received our call to serve in Mendoza. We welcomed her at the airport in Mendoza and now we are saying goodbye to her. It is crazy, but this will help us put the first half of our mission behind us come December 31st. We have enjoyed serving with ever one of these fine missionaries. (left) Elders Ortiz, Cox, Nuila, Opheikens, Pres. Me, Hermana Huzzey.

New Missionaries Arrive

Elder Sandford arrived first, he has been serving in Arizona waiting for his visa. Atleast he was speaking spanish and perfecting his language. He was fast tracked in the MTC because of his language ability but that didn't make his visa come any faster.

We received 9 missionaries today, and they were all happy to finally arrive and be able to take a shower and get some sleep. No one does much sleeping on the airplane. After feeding them, they went in the plaza and practiced "opening the mouth" along with the assistance from our office Elders.
Group photo in front of the Monument of San Martin.
Airport mug shot for our office workers. They write the names above their heads, and then write the name of their companion above that. This helps everyone in the office to practice their names and who they have been placed with. Let's see if I can do it-
(left) Elders Roberts and Harvey, Hermana's Burnett and Deem, Elders Boyle, Romano, Davis, Gomez, Bigelow. I think I got one hundred percent.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Area Conference with Elder Bednar

Our Area Conference this November was held in the Sheraton Hotel in Buenos Aires. We met Sunday night thru Wednesday, all day in the Hotel. We learned techniques for teaching and were greatly blessed for being there. It was the very last area conference meeting with an Apostle. After our conference, Apostles and Seventies will no longer travel for training in area conferences but they will be taught by our local area presidency. Elder Bednar and his wife Susan and Elder Snow and his wife Phyllis were there to help us be more affective in our work with our missionaries.
Elder Snow and Phyllis, President Wade and myself as we are in our casual clothing ready to leave for a Argentine ranch experience.
Elder Bednar and wife Susan, Elder Bowen and his wife Lynette in causal clothing ready to leave the hotel.
Elder Aidukitis and his wife Luica and Jim and I.
A very special group of people. These are our friends who we went out with one and a half years ago. They will be eternal friends. President Benton (Cheryl) BA West, President Villalba (Ana Maria) Rosario, President Northcutt (Cynda) Salta, Jim and I (No. 1 mission in the world Mendoza) President del Castillo (Olinda) Restistencia. We came to the edge of the light and took two steps into the darkness. We celebrate together our success and sorrows. This takes an abundance of faith.
The National flower of Argentina, the Ceibo. The Erythrina tree (means coral tree from the Greek word for red, in allusion to the color of the flower) and is known for its crooked trunks. The wood is so soft and breakable you can not climb this tree. To see it's blossom look at the last picture at the close up. The two petals are partially bound together and form the flower's keel, protecting the reproduction of the flower.
On Tuesday in the afternoon we went to the Susana Ranch, a huge ranch that use to be a working ranch years ago. On the grounds was a museum and this little chapel. In one corner is a wedding dress from the early 1900's, and the cutest confession booth. The chapel was used by the family and all the workers on the ranch.
The museum was full of fun things that we all remember from the states and our own youth. OK maybe not this record player, I am not that old. But it was fun to reminisce.
In front of the little chapel
The chapel from a far.
Chairs made from the bones of the cow. Not too comfortable to sit on, but on a ranch, pretty cheap to make.
After lunch there was entertainment. There was a folklore dance with the traditional dress, and below, the tango.

Lunch was served by the gaucho's. They take you on horse and buggy rides, cook the food on the outdoor parillas, serve the food, dance, and then go outside and participate in the horse show.
There were three groups of horses, obviously from the same families because they were all matching in color, roans, buckskins, and dark colored. The gaucho would pull a horse with a bell tied around his head, and as they would trot out, the horses would automatically form groups following the ringing of the tone of bell they have been trained to follow.

Wired to each ribbon hanging from the wood frame was a small ring about 1 1/2 inch in diameter. These gauchos would run a full gallop towards the ring, and with a small knife the size of a pencil, would spear the ring, standing tall in their saddles. I could see doing it with a ring 3 or 4 inches, but this was truly amazing. Then they would bring the ring over to the stands were they would give the ring to a woman-- for a kiss.
OK I just had to get myself a ring, and yes I was willing to give him a kiss, but only on the cheek. The camera of course didn't capture the kiss, but only the after math and the blushing. I was just hoping Elder Bednar and Elder Bowen were not looking.
Here is the prize, the infamous RING, along with one of the blossoms of the Ceibo tree (right).

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Jim

The San Luis Zone send this photo to Jim and I. Actually my birthday is the 2nd and Jim is the 4th, but they they were so kind I didn't want to correct them. The first picture is of the missionaries who are in San Luis (3 1/2 hours from Mendoza) and the second picture is of those missionaries WAY far out in San Luis area (5 hrs). Our missionaries helped us to have a happy birthday.
A party with our Senior Couples (left-Brown's and Jarvis's) and Jim's counselors in the mission presidency (Sister Rastelli whose husband got there late, Acosta's)
The Maipu Zone got together to celebrate our birthday's. It looks like they had a good time without us.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New Missionaries Arrive

They really didn't want 3 extra weeks in the MTC, but their visas never came. They benefited from having extra practice on their language skills by some great MTC teachers. But as they will find out, there is no better teacher than the ten hours on the STREET in Mendoza.
Welcome Elder Fowler and Elder Hopkin

Monday, November 2, 2009

October/November Zone Conference

I missed the photo, but Elder Roy was standing on the backs of these strong Elders. Only proving that the most important person of the pyramid, who can not be removed is Elder Davis (middle on the floor). A lesson on the importance of the Book of Mormon in testifying of the restoration. Like Elder Holland put it in conference, those who leave the church must do so-by crawling over, or under, or around the Book of Mormon to make that exit.
Elder Roy, Lloyd, Sargent, Williams, Davis, Ashby

Happy Guaymallen Zone
San Rafael Zone (Elder Wells and Elder Aparcana)
Alvear Zone (Elder Sanchez and Elder Vasquez)
Mendoza Zone (Elder Contreras and Elder Stevenson)
Godoy Cruz Zone (Elder Rodriguez and Elder Wiest)
Guaymallen Zone (Elder Mayta and Elder Sargent)
San Luis Zone (Elder Fuentes and Elder Boudrero)
Maipu Zone (Elder Toledo and Elder Medina)
San Martin Zone (Elder Lambert and Elder Ayala)
Valle de Uco Zone (Elder Manqui and Elder Clayson)
Chimbas Zone (Elder Bills and Elder Cardus)
San Juan Zone (Elder Martin and Elder Duel)
In San Rafael in the evening we drove past a large building where many people were gathering. There was a folklore dance presentation of the people from their various areas. They were all waiting to go on and posed for this picture with Elder Squires (back).
Elder Cooper, Barrus, Ryan, Perdomo, Linares
Hermana Villalba, Alvez, me Hermana Rojas, Maucotel
Elders Olson, Martinez, Guzman, Beck, Aschieris
Hermana Huzzey, Chamorro, Hunt, me, Hermana Flake, Kartchner, Bonilla
(Top) Elder Snow, Elder Newbold, Rios, Naranjo, Mendoza, Jones
Who is the most important building block?

Top Zone for the month of September San Juan. Zone Leaders Elder Cardus and Elder Bills
Hermana Warren, Llancanao, me, Hermana White
Celebrating my birthday with San Juan/Chimbas Zone. They made me a birthday cake and this t-shirt that had all their names on the back. Thanks Elder Martin, Duel, Reynolds!
Elder Rodriguez and Hollinger helping me celebrate
Water wheel outside of San Juan still in operation bringing the water from the irrigation ditch through a pipe out to the fields.