Monday, February 21, 2011

Another Good Week in Argentina

We went to San Rafael for a few days, for a training meeting with our missionaries and a meeting with the Stake President. We stayed at our favorite hotel, Algodon. We wore ponchos because it was raining outside. There was a hail storm the night before which is very common in San Rafael. The young lady is Paz (Peace). She handles the reservations and has become a friend to us.
At Algodon there are vineyards and orchards that are being worked at all times. We took a golf cart (shipped from the US, they are unheard of here) around the property. It is hundreds of acres of vineyards, apricot and membrillo orchards. Also there is an old olive orchard that they are trying to cultivate back to production.

If there is a cold night during the time the fruit is developing, along the dirt roads are these barrels ready with wood to start a fire to heat up the orchards. Below is a picture of the stacks of wood that are around the entire orchard areas. They are also oil pots around the perimeter.
President showing us his favorite grape, a muscatel. It is the most fragrant and sweet of all the grapes we have tasted (and we are getting to be experts). We are sure we are the only ones in Mendoza who go around tasting grapes, go on winery tours, and never drink a drop of wine.

To get the Andes into perspective I took this picture on our way home from San Rafael. The darker mountains in the back ground would be about the height of the mountains back home in Utah, around 10-11,000 feet high. The peak behind it (above the clouds) would be twice that size, over 22,000 feet. It is not the famous Aconcagua peak, but it still is more than 22,000. There are around 6 peaks in our mission that are that high or higher.

It is summer in Mendoza and the fruit and vegetables are at their very best. Here are some strawberries and peaches from our local fruit stand. Notice how red the berries are. They are picked one day and sold the next so they are fresh from the fields. There isn't anything better than the fruit in Mendoza.
There is one negative though about buying the fruit, and that is the need to thoroughly wash everything. The grapes were just rinsed, but we need to put a little bleach in the water when we clean lettuce, spinach or chard.This peach has two hearts
When you buy watermelon from Mauricio at our local fruit stand, you just tell him if you want half or a quarter. They let you test a piece to see if you like it. Now, that is something I will miss. This watermelon is the most sweet, juicy watermelon I have ever tasted. Wish I could send you some.
These beautiful missionaries were part of a local choir we needed to put together to sing at the Saturday "future missionary" training meeting with Elder Aidukaitis and Elder Spitale. I wish I could explain the feeling that we had as we watched over 500 potential missionaries get off buses in white shirts and ties (or dresses) and walk through the plaza into the stake center. We have never seen so many youth in one place in our time here in Argentina. We have 100 of those ready to fill out mission papers. We saw with our eyes the future of the church here in Argentina. Now if we can keep them committed and coming to church.
Our wonderful choir sang "Called To Serve" as we walked up the middle aisle of the chapel. In Spanish there are four verses of that song, not just two. It was reported to me that after, the next speaker had a few tears in his eyes. There is a powerful spirit when the missionaries of the Lord express their testimony through song.

1 comment:

Joan said...

I just thought I'd say how much I enjoy reading your blog. I served my mission in Mendoza and loved it. Seeing it all through your eyes brings back great memories.