Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Week 2

Only been out here 2 weeks and already being told what I believe. We went tracting in these run down apartments, and at one of the final doors we knocked on, we were having a fantastic discussion with this guy, until his wife showed up. She started talking about how they are Evangelist and don´t want Mormonism because their family is Christian. So my comp told her that we are too. Then she started going off on how we don´t believe in the Bible, and just carry it around to trick people (or something I didn´t understand much) and how we believe different things about Jesus. Not sure where she learned more about my church than me, but we thanked them for their time and left. The husband seemed really dissapointed when his wife told us off. Hopefully we planted a good seed in him.

Anyways, missionaries are like crazy people magnents. So many drunk people talk to us. One lady on a moped, just stopped by us on the street and started warning us about how it is bad to eat the dogs because they drink bad water and go to the bathroom wherever they want. Then I think she related dogs to the devil. Not too sure though. I just remember hearing "diablo" at that part. Also, a lot of people like to talk politics with missionaries. I´m not sure how a nametag that says "JESUCRISTO" translates in peoples minds to "GOVERNMENT", but it somehow does.

Spanish is coming along. I´m finally starting to understand what people are saying. The Argentine accent is pretty weird, it´s like a lisp almost, so it´ll be a while before I really understand that, but it´s coming. But, everytime I think I am getting a handle on the language, I get pooped on. For example, every Friday the President of the Basic Unit (smallest unit possible in the church, smaller than a Branch and a Ward) has the missionaries over for lunch, us Elders and the Sisters. President talks super freaking fast and has a really thick Argentine accent, ie, he lisps a lot, so it´s to understand. Anyway, we were eating and talking about Hermana Bushman (a sister missionary in Casilda from Pennsylvania) and I teaching an English class. Then President said something really fast I didn´t understand. All I understood was "Tercer Domingo", "Third Sunday" and "Lo hará Élder", "Will you do it Elder". Of course, I said yes. I thought he was asking if we would teach a class the third sunday. So to make sure I understood, I asked Hermana Bushman what I signed us up to do. She said, "Oh, you´re giving a talk on Sunday on missionary work." When I asked how long "About 10-15 minutes." Haha I felt pretty dumb. I doesn´t stop there though. Saturday night, we got home and found out our lunch appointment for the next day was cancelled, and we had no food for lunch. So we went to buy some food (our mission president already approved going out after 9 to get food if we have none and are back by 9:30, don´t worry Bishop). We passed some lady in the street. So, out of habit, I greeted her and said "Hola! Buen día!" My companion died laughing, and said to me "Buen día?" For those who don´t know, that is used for "Good morning". I had told someone "Good morning" at 9:15 at night haha.

It goes on though. A lady showed up to the church building last week, saying she wants to learn more but only can on Sunday, and gave us her address. So, we went looking for her house yesterday. The address she gave us is in the ghetto part of town, and just about 0 out of 10 houses there have numbers on them. And almost no one knows their address number. So it´s just a guessing game. We never found her, but, we did a less active lady who hadn´t been to pretty much since she had been baptized at 8. She didn´t even know the churches full name, just as "Mormon´s" nor that we have missionaries in the church. She was really happy to see us though. And she seems really excited to meet again on Friday. This kind of thing happens quite a bit in that area of town. We´ll go look for someone, won´t find them, but will find a less active member who dropped of the church radar years ago is excited to see us and eargerly accepts the invitation to meet with the missionaries again. God definitely does not forget any of his sheep, no matter how astray they have gone. He remembers them all and wants them all back in his fold. I know that because I feel that desire to find the "ONE" who is lost, even when there are "ninety and nine" sheep in the fold still. We definitely are all loved and wanted by our father in heaven.

Something really strange here I forgot to mention last week, nobody knocks on doors. You just clap. Everyone has a gate a few feet out from there door, and instead of going in and knocking, you clap and someone comes out. Also, traffic laws are nonexistent. Obviously, there are laws, but no one follows them. For example, on my first day, we were driving to the mission home, and for whatever reason, traffic was way backed up. When we got there, there were cars heading towards us. Then our driver turned around and drove back into oncoming traffic, and up the on-ramp, just to get around the traffic. It was awesome and bizarre.

Apparently our pension is unfit for missionaries, so we have to look for a new one. It´s interesting. I didn´t think it was that bad, but I guess it is.

Love and miss you all.

Élder Brown

Ether 1:15


I received the sweetest note from Scottie's Mission Mom with these pictures.... (and everyone kept telling Scottie he would be eating A LOT of steak - check out the meal on the table she prepared for dinner!)

Casilda - First Week!

This week was nuts.

When I left the MTC, I thought I knew spanish. Then, when we got here, I realized I don´t know a lick of it. I said "¡Hola!" to a lady at customs in Buenos Aires, and she spoke in such insanely fast with a crazy accent. I didn´t understand one single word she said. That pretty much continued to be true for just about everyone I´ve met. It´s gotten better though. Now I can more or less understand the main message people are trying to convey when they speak. Oh well. It´ll continue to improve. Ether 12:27 has been a pretty big help. You really know that you don´t understand one bit of Spanish when little 5 year old boys start making fun of your accent and inability to speak haha. The Branch President also makes fun of me a lot haha. As far as speaking goes, I can convey what I am trying to say. It´s slow, and I sound very much like a Gringo, but it is understood. Also here, in Argentina, the words they use mean different things. For example, the main word we used in high school and in the MTC for "to choose" means the f-word here. So you really gotta be careful.

I like it here though. This place is the most laid back country in the world. I say that for two main reasons: 1. They have a national nap time. From 2-4:30 people go home and sleep. That is so genius! We need that back in the States. 2. They invented a drink that when you are drinking it, you can just pass hours doing nothing but talking. It´s sweet! If you feel like doing nothing for a few hours, no matter the situation, you just ask if everyone else wants some mate. And everyone always says yes. Mate (mah-tay) is basically Word of Wisdom approved tea. But missionaries can´t drink it because you do nothing while you drink it, it wastes of time that could be spent serving or proselyting.

It was a real shock the first time I saw to guys kiss each other on the cheek. I´ve gotten over it though cuz it happens all the time. Missionaries can´t do it though, but it´s impolite to tell someone not to kiss you on the cheek. So old ladies put you in tough situations. The trick is just to not kiss back. The idea is eventually they will understand you aren´t about that life and don´t want a kiss. It doesn´t seem to work very well though. They keep doing it.

Anyway, my first area is Casilda. It is pretty small and condensed. It is one of the safest towns in the country, so thats nice. There are dogs and horses everywhere. I don´t know why there are so many horses in Casilda. They are only used and rode in Rosario. In Casilda, you see people walking around pulling buggies, and a horse tethered off to the side of the road in the grass, just grazing peacefully cuz it has no responsibilities, other than to just chill there. Pretty much everyone has a moped or bike. Even if they have a car, they will have a moped or bike. My first night it rained like crazy and was freezing cold. Woke up with a raging cold that hasn´t left. The mornings just keep getting colder, even though they are supposed to be warming up cuz we are going into Spring and Summer. Both me and my trainor are new to Casilda. But the previous missionaries got some baptisms lined up for us. So it´s kinda nice to jump right into the miracles. The people we are teaching for baptism are the Avalos family. The husband isn´t very interesed, but the wife and daughter are. The wife is gonna be baptized next saturday, and the daughter will be baptized as soon as she decides to come to church instead of sleeping in. We taught them the word of wisdom on saturday, and apparently the wife already gave up drinking alcohol tea coffee and smoking for her kids. So she´s all ready to go. It was awesome to hear that. And the daughter is 9 so she hasn´t had problems with any of that.

My trainor is Elder Yaques. He´s from Lima Peru and can´t speak English. So it´s a pretty solid motivation to learn Spanish. Also, my mission President is a native to Argentina so he doesn´t speak English either, he only knows basic words, like "You´re welcome" and "I don´t speak English. Only Spanish" and "slowly" (I´m know sure why he had to pick that one up, but he did). Anyway, my trainor likes to play guitar, piano, and sing. Suffice it to say that the Guatemalan lady I taught in the MTC wasn´t that far from the mark when she said that Latinos can´t sing. He´s really nice though and encouraging.

The Spirit is really strong out here. I like it a lot.

Elder Brown

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Last Week

September 3, 2015

Sorry I didn't send out a group email last week, I ran out of time. These last two weeks have been sweet though.

On Tuesday, Elder Dallin H. Oaks came and spoke to us. He talked a lot about listening to the Holy Ghost during lessons and using Preach My Gospel. He also gave us three teaching tips, and when an apostle gives some teaching tips, it's prolly a good idea for missionaries to listen and follow their advice. His tips were: 1. Make the Plan of Salvation the foundation for all lessons. 2. Don't assume anything (meaning don't assume your investigators and others you teach to know about that you talk about, explain everything in detail.) 3. Explain the importance of keeping commitments. I also sang in the choir for that devotional, I think we sang "Lead Thou Me On" but I'm not too sure.

Our travel plans came in last Friday, we are being bused to the airport at 9:30 on Monday morning, then we are taking off at 1:30. We'll have a layover in Atlanta, and then we will arrive in Buenos Aires at 9:30 local time. So we'll be traveling for 24 hours. Ay ay ay! That's about to be so long. It's a good thing the Elder's in my district are fun, or else it would be too boring.

In similar news, my companion's VISA didn't come, so he got assigned serve to Orem Utah on Tuesday while he waits for his VISA. I personally think that really stinks. That would ruin my day. But he has been a good sport about it. Yesterday though, it seemed to really hit him that he is the only Elder in our District who has to go stateside and wait for his VISA. I feel bad, but I know there are no accidents when it comes to this sort of thing. I know the Lord has something for him there, 50 feet down the street from the MTC. I actually am kinda jealous, cuz I am terrified to go to Argentina. I'm not scared because it has the highest homicide rate out of any city in Argentina, I know the Lord will protect me if I listen to the Spirit, but I am scared because of feelings of inadequacy. But, through 1 Nephi 3:7, I know that God will provide a way. I know he has a work for me in Rosario just like he has a work for my companion in Orem.

Speaking of my companion, he had been sick for 3 weeks. So last week on Monday, he asked me to give him a blessing, so I did. I said some things along the line of "You will get better." Plus some more things that I didn't write down and can't remember. Two cool things happened because of that. The first, when I was giving him a blessing, the words that I was being inspired to say were coming to me in Spanish, but I said them in English because a friend of his was there too, who was learning Mandarin and didn't know a lick of Spanish. Second, on Wednesday, when we were teaching our TRC investigator about the Restoration, he bore his testimony about the truthfulness of the restored Gospel and the priesthood. She must have really liked what she heard, and felt the Spirit, because she asked us to give her a blessing too. It was awesome. I don't remember any of what my companion said during the blessing, I just know that she had tears in her eyes when we finished. So she must have really felt the Spirit during the blessing.

My next email will come from Argentina! ¡Hasta luego!

Élder Brown