Saturday, March 26, 2011

March Activities

We were happy to finally receive Elder Gutierrez from Grantsville, Utah. He was waiting in the Arizona South Mission for his visa. His companion (left) Elder Canaza is from Buenos Aires.
The Best District numbers in the mission go to Elder Lucas and Elder Sargent. This is the special tie award- hand drawn and colored by our Assistants, and stapled to rubberbands for around the neck. Nothing but pure "class" here in the Mendoza Mission.

Our interview week started in San Juan. After meeting with the San Juan Elders we went to Chimbas. These Elders in Chimbas had a zone meeting right after where President shared with them a sweet experience of their Zone Leader Elder Menocal (bright red tie) who had just gotten off the phone with his dad. President always allows these calls, as Elder Menocal's dad is not a member, but who is now investigating the church and wants his son to baptize him when he returns from his mission. There was not a dry eye in the audience as they all cried together realizing what a special moment this was for their zone leader. Elder Menocal expressed that this was his goal all along, to baptize his father and get his family to the temple to be sealed for time and eternity. The Lord loves His missionaries and listens to their prayers. You will want to stay tuned for the great story of Elder Barton and Burns. They baptized a man last Saturday who was converted when he picked up a Liahona in an old house and read the first article written by the Prophet about being a good father. When they found the man he already knew that the church was true. Don't throw out those Ensigns- they are missionary tools!
(left back) Elders Rios, Guillen
(middle) Elder Quintero, Baker, Williams, Roberts, Menocal, Wilson (Leany hiding) Carter
Elders Burns, Bigelow
Elders Oliveros, Tucker, Guzman
Elder Barton
Our last interview zone was in Alvear, after a week and a half of traveling. As we went into the chapel to find them, they had been practicing "God Be With You" to sing to President and I. We tried to tell them we weren't going anywhere yet, but it was so cute, we just sat quietly and listened. We know our time is short, but it feels weird to look in the eyes of our missionaries and know that we won't be with them much longer. Very sobering.
(back left) Elder Summers, Eliason, Orozco, Burr, Lounsbury
(front) Elders Barlow, Barra, Solano, Moriarty, Carr, Robinson

Our First Official Argentine Wedding
The Wedding of Carla and Jair Martins
Carla is a dear friend and step-daughter of Bishop Paez of the Godoy Cruz ward. She has been dating Jair for 3 years and we were so happy that we were here to see their wedding. In Argentina, they first need to be married civilly and then the next week they will be sealed in the Santiago Chile temple. So we got to experience an upscale Argentine wedding.
The outdoor garden is where the guests arrived and enjoyed drinks and finger foods. The bride and groom arrived in their car (in back) and they walked down the stone path to the area where they would be married.

Milagros Paez on left (sister)

The couple walking down the aisle.
Before the ceremony began, her step-dad Bishop Paez (back to us) gave a little talk on the church an its beliefs (many in the audience were not members). He did a beautiful job talking about the temple and the idea that this marriage will live on through the eternities. After the ceremony which is performed by a magistrate (woman on left) the couple signs their signature. She then gives a review of the couples parents and grandparents and where they are from and what they do for a living (that was interesting).

Exchanging rings
The guests then went inside the reception center and sat at the dinner tables. The married couple then come in and go around and take a picture with every table and their guests. Below is a photo of the bride with Sister Packer and myself.
The first course of the meal was of course Argentine empanadas, and then the second course was steak, and a skewer of vegetables. Accompanying that was a platter of cold shredded carrots, green beans, and beets. The dessert was vanilla icecream with chocolate sauce dribbled across it (Argentina is known for its icecream).
Later in the evening Jair's mother who is from Brazil, served her famous Brazilian desserts. She is often called on to cook for the Brazilian embassy in town. The Lindahl's and Packer's had to say good bye at the point, but I want to explain to you the time frame of a typical wedding.
The wedding begins around 10:00 PM. Dinner is served after the ceremony and then dancing begins. Around 3:00 they serve finger sandwiches, slices of pizza and things like pigs-in-a-blanket. Then more dancing until around 7:00 am when a dessert bar is set up. The guests usually dance until around 8:00 am. I have been told that the older guests usually leave around 6:00 am because somehow 8:00 is just too late for them. What does that say for us "old folk" Americans that went home at 2:00. Probably because we had to be at the office in a few hours.
The Paez (and Di Giuseppe) and Martins Families.

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