Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Consejos June 2010

New Zone Leaders this transfer (left) Elder Campbell (Valle de Uco), Elder Linares (Mendoza), Elder Orduña (San Luis), Elder LeBron (Alvear), Elder Hopkin (Godoy Cruz).
Elder Frischknecht (Valle de Uco), Elder Wiest who really isn't that short but is standing next to two giants (new AP), Elder Bills is back again for more blessings (Alvear), Elder Cabranes (Zone Leader next transfer)
Winning Zone this month is Villa Mercedes- Elder Mendoza and Elder Smith
Each Zone Leader last Consejos set their own goals to reach. President asked them 3 times if they felt they could reach them, and to be realistic. These Zone Leaders reached their goals and were awarded new ties. The Elders below found out how serious President was about setting realistic goals.

You have to love those faces! They really are great Zone Leaders, but they learned their lesson about setting realistic goals (moms don't be too alarmed, they promised they weren't their best ties.
Mendoza Mission Zone Leaders
(back left) Elders Bills, Conti, Bodily, Toledo, Boyd, Hopkin, Cabranes, Linares, Nieve. (middle left) Elders LeBron, Cardus (AP), Wiest, Frischknecht, Martin (AP), Smith, Medina, Mendoza, Campbell, Paz, Mamani, Ramirez, Patterson (laying down). (front) Elders Orduña, Hurst, Smith, Sorensen, Wajchman, Reynolds.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Oldies Leave and New Missionaries Come

Sister Warren left 4 weeks early and so was all by herself as she left on the airplane. She returns to sunny California.
This is our viejito group for May. We will miss them all, but know that their families are waiting with open arms. They served the Lord well, and we will love them forever.
(left back) Elder Sanchez, Gonzalez, Fuentes, President, Me, Hermana Rojas, Pintos, Villalba (left front) Elders Tillery, Lloyd, Harker
Hermana Rojas (Canada) Hermanas Pintos and Villalba (Argentina)

Our new missionaries arrived late in the evening of May 4th. The airlines are on strike and so they were flown in on the last plane that night. They were tired, but happy to finally arrive. That is a new sign above them for our little airport.
(left back) Elders Burr, Espino, Gonzalez, Hansen, Hancock, Arauz, Ramos, Alvarez, Obaldia, Mori (left front) Hermanas Sollis, Astorga, Garcia.
We skipped the lovely dinner at the mission home because it was so late. We stopped by McDonalds for a late night snack. We wanted to get them settled and in bed so they could rest before their training in the morning. This will be the last normal tasting meal for the North Americans, unless they are serving in the city. That is the only place there is a McDonalds.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Stake Conference in San Rafael and General Alvear

This picture is for my sisters- These sweet sisters live in San Rafael, two of the sisters were not there. They are all active members of the church. Together they have over 100 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren. They are the most friendly ladies, all well dressed and well spoken. Their names: Beatriz Mohamed, Elida Mohamed, Maria Cristina Mohamed, Olga Mohamed (not there Sara Mohamed, Liboria Mohamed) Daughter Anita Lucia Martinez Mohamed (3rd from the right)
We have this small one room chapel in Salto de las Rosas, with an apartment attached at the side where these missionaries (Elder Caballero and Elder Roundy) live. Right in front of the chapel is a little stream/ditch which flooded over during a large storm and ruined the apartment of the Elders. They will be moving out next week.
This is the bridge to the apartment and chapel. President decided to test it out. Luckily he survived since we had to speak in 20 more minutes at the Alvear Stake Conference. It would be my luck he would fall through the boards and I would have to take the whole time at conference speaking a foreign language (which is still pretty foreign to me).
Gauchos riding along the highway, off to work.
A wonderful musical family who all starred in the Alvear Stake Conference. The mother lead the choir, the father played the keyboard, the older brother the flute and the younger brother played both the flute and harmonica in a beautiful hymn accompaniment (not found in the english hymnbook). The choir did a beautiful job, their voices were so clear and sweet.
Gustavo Yllanes (sons Pablo and Manuel)

New members of the church. Lovely sisters and their mom. You could feel such a sweet spirit about them. What a golden family. (left Yesica Tkazek, Melisa Tkazek, Karen Tkazek, and mother Alejandra Ramero)
The picture got out of order, but our musical family the Yllanes had twins. It was so interesting because each of the babies looks like a different parent. The little girl is a pretty little thing like the mother with light hair and eyes, the little boy has dark eyes and dark hair. So cute.
Jim caught this moto on the highway doing about 30 miles an hour. Grandma looks quite comfortable.
We were driving along the highway going home from conference (5 hours) and off to one side was a family outside eating under a canopy of grapevines. They were all enjoy a Sunday asado (BBQ). The area was rural countryside with very few homes along the way. They had all gathered at one of the homes. Though you can't see much of the one room home, it is a typical adobe brick home covered with a thin layer of paint. Out the front door is this arbor covered with grape vines. I asked the Elders in the car to go and say hi and take a picture. You can see Elder Martin, Sorensen and LeBron at the end of the table giving a wave.
Just the army of Helaman coming back to the car. They left their message of Christ, took their picture, and left the family with a good feeling about the random interruption to their lives. I don't know if you can see it in their eyes, or maybe you can feel it in your heart right now as you look at their faces- but those smiles are the smiles of obedient missionaries who are doing exactly what the Lord has asked them to do... Share their message of hope and love.
Elders Cardus, LeBron, Martin, Sorensen.
Elder Slater where ever you are- this is a memory just for you.

Lunch At The Office

Just lunch at the office. I brought my left over tacos from the Hermana Conference, but a few other Elders were in the office, so they felt there wasn't enough food. So someone ordered four dozen empanadas. They all ate my tacos and then started on the empanadas. It made me sick thinking about the amount of food they ate. The only healthy looking thing (green) they ate was the shredded lettuce I brought to put on the tacos.
(left) Elders Alfonso, Meldrum, Cabranes, Figueroa, Martin, Me, Lebron, Sorensen, Carter, Cardus, Cooper.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hermana Conference

Our Hermana Conference was a big success. Girls just love to get together and feel special (which they are). Each received a charm bracelet (thanks Tara and Vicki) with 7 charms (CTR, rose, keys, Liahona, praying hands, temple, Book of Mormon, backpack) each with a symbolic meaning to go with a class that day. There were pink cloth bags and treats (thanks Janis) for each sister. We went to the zoo, had a great lunch.
(back left) Hermanas Roman, Burnett, Bonilla, Deem, Cuello, Kartchner, Sybrowsky, Gutierrez, Whitmore, Hunt, Flake, Pinto, Alvez, Ochoa (front left) Me, Hermanas Toro, Rojas, Villalba, Maucotel and Hermana Brown in the center
Service project, putting together first aid kits for each of the missionaries emergency backpack (all 200 of them).
Enjoying the zoo.
We found the friendly mountain lion who purrs and likes to be pet. Almost lost fingers petting the one who didn't (just kidding). Bet you can't get this close in zoo's in the US.

The panther was pacing, and would come up to the front of the cage and growl and hiss at us. In the picture below I was able to capture it even though I was sure he was going to come through the metal and bite me.
My hand would be about 10 inches away. You shouldn't try this at home- it's only for professionals.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Daughter Tara Finally Comes To Visit

Tara's welcome to Argentina was having her luggage taken and searched. Dean was in the back trying to speak Portuguese, so Tara ran out to get help. After a somewhat heated discussion with the customs man, only one bag was taken and now it lives in limbo at customs and is being held for ransom (a fee more than it is worth). We have to bring in cameras and clothing, because these people steal from their own. A new missionary had his camera stolen out of a package sent from his parents right here in Argentina. SO... welcome Tara and Dean to Mendoza.
Even though the picture doesn't show it, it was the clearest day we have had to see Aconcagua. It was windy, but what do you expect at 11,000 feet. The peak behind us is 22,834 feet. The shelf of snow (glacier) on the right of the peak is said to be 900 feet thick.
We traveled to the Salentein bodega and stayed at the lodge near the bodega. It was beautiful.
The road to the lodge where we stayed.
It got cold as we waited for dinner (8:00 here in Argentina) so they made us a fire in the conference room so we could visit. Interesting- they loaded the crate with wood, stuffed it with cardboard and then lit the whole crate on fire. Great idea.
We were served drinks as we waited for dinner. We said no alcohol, but the white drink had some white wine in it (their version of non-alcoholic). But the strawberry fruit drink we were able to drink. It was wonderful.
The squash soup was to die for. Very little cream and mostly cooked squash.
Dessert was excellent- chocolate and cream.
In front of our rooms. Newly constructed and the bathrooms were all made of beautiful stone.
A great lesson on picking grapes. The men carry these buckets and have scissors to cut the stem of the grapes and put in the bucket. They will even strip the vine of leaves with their hands to find the grapes. They ran as fast as they could once that bucket was full to dump it in the awaiting truck.
The men dump their grapes into these large containers on the truck. As they go down the stairs, the lady in the straw hat reaches out and puts a token in their bucket which they retrieve and put in their pocket as they run to the next vine. These tokens are later turned in for money. These large vats of grapes must be for the common wine because at the other wineries we have watched use very small containers and they take care not to bruise the grape.
Tara wanted to see the mini-van I drive, so at the office I showed her my car. Everyone in the family laughs because there is a certain stigma in the family in relationship to mini-vans. I am just darn lucky to have the car available to me when I need it. You can see the small patch of grass that President is growing on the other side of the fence. It is his legacy. He loves newly mowed grass- it was just a patch of dirt before we came.
Showing the kids that they have some things they would recognize, even though they don't necessarily taste the same. They are standing in front of a large display of Mate, the drink the people consume in large amounts in Argentina (herbal drink, tastes like straw).
Tara wanted to experience the WalMart here in town. It is just like a state side WalMart, the only problem is that everything in the store is made in Argentina. So the familiarity stops as you enter the door.
Hector is possibly the nicest person in Mendoza. He and his family run a very nice leather store. They make their own coats, purses, computer bags, etc. We all tried on many coats. The coats Tara and Dean have on are their Christmas presents from us.
We stopped to try say hi to Mauricio and taste the fruit.
You can't leave Mendoza without trying their ice cream. It is one of the best things here in Argentina.
Dinner out at Florencias. Tara was admiring her dinner before she was served her steak. She was glad she hadn't ordered goat. All of the meats are cooked over hot wood coals. None of those fake barbecue techniques we use in the states.
Mario making my special dressing. Here they do not make dressings when you are served a salad. Only oil and vinegar. Mario my good friend is kind enough to mix me a dressing with oil, vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, honey. He has been serving us for 2 years now. A good friend.
Dean couldn't leave Argentina without tasting empanadas. He remembers then a little different when he served in Brazil.
The Bowen's standing in front of the Bowen store.
A few of our favorite pictures of the zoo. This baboon was obviously thirsty. I was happy to help him out. You should have seen the fangs on that guy.
Mr. Lion was more interested in his bone this time, and we weren't able to pet him.
They have many pumas, or mountain lions in the zoo. I never found my friendly puma, which was sad. I pet one of them under the fence and he hissed at me pretty good. That was when I was pretty well sure that that wasn't my friendly puma from last time.
Cerro de la Gloria.
A very sad day yesterday saying goodbye to Tara and Dean. We hope they had a good time. We know that we did.