Friday, April 23, 2010

Valle de Uco District Conference

President Moto with Jim at the Valle de Uco conference. He served as President of the District there for many years. His health is not good and so we needed to take this picture.
President with a group of little girls at the conference. He misses his granddaughters.
Another one of those angel faces- future missionary- or future mission president. His name is Eduardo Vargas (11).
Sister Gabriela Borei who rode her bicycle (on the left) to conference and kept this little gift she had made for me in her basket until after church. She was so ashamed it wasn't more, and I was ashamed that I had to take the gift from her because I knew she had so little. The gift was homemade membrillo (a sweet orange colored fruit that they made into a thick sugary treat). This woman is probably in her 70's and you should see how beautiful her skin is. If eating the membrillo will give me skin like that, I think I will eat it all!
Karen Vargas had written me a note during conference which she gave to me after the meeting. She told me thank you for my talk and how she wanted to grow up and be a missionary just like me. She thanked me for my example for all the young women. "Nunca me voy a olvidar de usted" she said. I will never forget you either Karen.
Baptisms after the conference, led by zone leader Elder Wiest. Six people were baptized that day.

We call them "fruta abaja" or the lower hanging fruit that is easy to pick- a young 9 year old that Elder Mamani gets to count as a baptism. So many sweet young children just never get around to being baptized because their parents are semi-active.

Zone Conferences

San Luis Zone- Zone Leaders Elder Bodily and Elder Vazquez
Alvear Zone- Zone Leaders Elder Smith and Elder Mendoza
Godoy Cruz Zone- Zone Leaders Elder Zullo and Elder Toledo
Mendoza Zone- Zone Leaders Elder Reynolds and Elder Aparcana
Valle de Uco Zone- Zone Leaders Elder Wiest and Elder Mamani
Guaymallen Zone- Zone Leaders Elder Boyd and Elder Nieve
San Martin Zone- Zone Leaders Elder Rodriguez and Elder Hurst
Maipu Zone- Zone Leaders Elder Kirk and Elder Paz
Off-ice Zone- Those serving in the office
(left) Elder Cardus, Martin, President, Me, Cooper, Figueroa, Cabranes, Carter
San Rafael Zone- Zone Leaders Elder Patterson, Ramirez
Alvear Zone- Zone Leaders Elder Matson and Elder Sprague
Chimbas Zone- Zone Leaders Elder Medina and Elder Wajchman
San Juan Zone- Zone Leaders Elder Smith and Elder Conti
Elders in San Luis looking TOUGH (Elder Brown won, 2nd from the right)
Same Elders giving me a sweet look- which one do you think won the prize (Elder Robinson 3rd from the right)
Assistants looking very happy, they just finished setting the tables for lunch (Elder Cardus and Martin) I never know what picture I will find on my camera when they get ahold of it.

Elder Mason testifying
Sister Burnett convincing the world that the Book of Mormon is the most correct scripture on earth. A second testament of Christ.

Scripture chase

Elder Ramirez testifying
Christian, a potential missionary visiting zone conference.
Practice, and practice, and then re-practice.

Side Trips

Yancanelo was our first tour of an olive press to see how olive oil is made.
We first stepped into a museum of old equipment used in the last century. Some of the trees on the property are over a hundred years old. Though they say that the older trees produce less olives (don't we older folk know it), thus are always renovating the areas by planting newer trees in areas where they can divide the 6 different varieties.
This is a very old press. Those stones were used to roll over the olives and crush them. When making olive oil, the seed and everything is crushed.
The crushed paste is then put in this machine where the oil is starting to be separated from the left over paste. Seventy-five percent of the mixture is water. It is seperated by gravity. The oil floating to the top and overflowing into another machine. The round mat (you can see the holes better in the photo above) is very interesting. The paste (seed pieces and all) are smashed into the holes of this mat, then these mats are moved to the next machine below.
Each of these mats has the crushed olive paste inside. They are layered in this machine and then with force are pressed until the remaining oil is separated.
This is one of the methods of producing the very best (concentrated) olive oil. These little fingers on the ends of these metal layers act like knives. Imagine if you had a glass of olive oil floating above water and you pull a knife through it and lift it out- the oil stays on the knife and drips down the knife. This machine is like that.
Mr. Llama eating his lunch. Llamas are not as nice as the guanaco's found here.
These are the vineyards that produce the grapes to make balsamic vinegar. The type of grape is very aromatic and way too strong to be used for a wine. They sell the vinegar in the store under their label.
They had a fire many years ago and destroyed a portion of the olive grove (accident). This is one of the stumps. What interested me was the way they grafted in the branches of another tree on the sides of the century old stump. It is again flourishing and producing olives (you can only imagine the gospel application).
After the tour, they served us products from their store. That is soda in the glass not wine. Pepsi is about the only diet drink they sell down here.
Driving to zone conference in San Rafael. One of the most beautiful areas in the mission.

We were an hour late for our interviews. This truck was loaded with canned goods, which were scattered all over the highway. We were all routed over to the other side of the highway and then back.
A family who had gone inactive in Villa Mercedes, who came back to church that Sunday. They wanted to meet us on the highway as we got back on to travel to San Luis. The man had made bread for Elder Martin (our assistant) who had participated in his baptism. An Elder Peralta baptism.
Elder Martin and Cardus in front of the earthquake memorial in San Juan in 1944, which killed 12,000 people and wiped out the city. All of the beautiful colonial buildings were destroyed. We live in the earthquake zone along the Andes Mountains.
Elder Martin in the donkey cart with the 12 year old boy. He lives along the highway to San Juan. Elder Martin asked him if he knew where the United States was or Europe or any other country besides Argentina. The boy must not be educated in a school because he knew nothing of the outside world.
On their way to no where. Notice the difference in the size of the wheels. This young boy probably thinks he is the luckiest boy in the world to have this little cart.