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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Week 69: Posadas, Argentina

Well it's December 18th, but it doesn´t really feel like it's Christmas time. It's hard to feel the Christmas spririt when it's hot.. even though we listen to Christmas music pretty much every day and there are actually quite a bit of decorations for Christmas around the city. I think I'm actually getting used to the heat though, I'm not sure if I'll be ready for winters in the States.  

One of the missionaries got a package and opened up here and it had a pine smell and it smelled super good, exactly like Christmas. Our zone activity is next Tuesday for Christmas which should be fun. This week we made a short video for Christmas which kinda turned out not too spiritual at all, but pretty funny. We went all out, haha, but it turned out pretty well I think. 

The finances... are going. I think there is a lot of end of the year stuff to do.. but I'm not exactly sure what. So I'll probably be pretty busy the next two weeks. President's card is almost finished... I have to balance it out to zero for dollars, guanines, and pesos which is the tough part. The pesos are finished and the dollars are finished and I thought I had finished the guanines, but there are a few mistakes... so I have to go back and correct it again. But other than that I think the finances are going pretty well. It's kind of weird, I haven't been audited yet and I'm not sure if I will be, but I feel like I'm just doing my thing and hopefully I'm doing it correctly. 

We can Skype anytime on Christmas Eve or Christmas day.  On Monday I'll get back on the email and verify the time with you. I think its 45 minutes for Skype. 

The work is going pretty well, I feel like there's lots more activity around Christmas time and we haven't been able to work as much as we usually do, but it's going well. We are trying to teach people how to have a Family Home Evening and kind of setting it up for them and then letting them do it on their own. So hopefully it goes well... we´ll see if they do it, haha. 

We are pretty excited though for the Christmas concert this Saturday.  We practiced on Monday and it actually sounded a lot better than what I thought it would. There are 28 missionaries in total that are going to particpate and we are going to sing 8 songs from the hymn book. We invited lots of members and had it announced in all the sacrament meetings in the stake. I think it's a really good way to spread the gospel because it is a lot more innocent than knocking on someone's door or trying to stop someone in the street.  Hopefully people will be able to catch the spirit and have a better image about the church. I think music is a good way to make things different. It always helps in the lessons, and special musical numbers in sacrament meeting are always good. It's weird how music can have such a powerful effect on people, but it happens. 

I got Grandmom´s Christmas card and the Harrast´s as well. You´ll have to thank them for me. And thank you for the email! Have a great week and see you on Christmas ;)... in Skype!

Love, Elder Roberts

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Week 68: Posadas, Argentina

Hey! This week was good, flying by super fast as usual, but so far enjoyable. It´s actually kind of weird serving in the office because it's just really different from what i did before as a regular missionary. But it's cool. There are definitely ups and downs.

My responsiblity in the office is to organize the payments of the mission and pay for things. All the paperwork and all the travels are the other secretaries' responsibilities, so luckily i usually don't get blamed for problems when missionaries come on days they shouldn't, haha. Though we are all a team and i would like to help, it's really every man for himself because everyone has never ending tasks to do. So it's tough to help other people when you can never finish what you're doing. For the more urgent stuff we usually all get together and go at it. We do have a planning meeting every Sunday night which helps a lot. I think i definitely learned the importance of planning things well here in the mission; I am definitely a better planner than i was before. 

Our ward Christmas party is this weekendwhich should be pretty sweet, I'm excited to eat grilled Argentinian meat. I think the 6 of us missionaries are putting on a play-or something like that, we are going to practice tonight after our correlation meeting, should be interesting. And we already have members that invited us for Christmas dinner and New year's dinner, the nice thing about being in a ward. It's funny though, lots of the less actives, or people that sometimes dont even go to church, love having the missionaries over to eat at their house. It's actually a really good way to activate people or help them progress. They might recognize the blessings of giving us food, haha, becuase people that feed the missionaries are definitely blessed. A lady in my last area told us that she gave us food every week to be blessed and that we had to go to her house every week, or she wouldn't be blessed and she would have a bad week, haha. Pretty funny. 

Here in the mission we get 161 dollars a month, the people in Paraguay get a little bit more, I think the food is a little bit cheaper here than it is in the States. Paraguay is nice in that the money usually is enough, but here in Argentina there's lots of inflation and the money isn't really worth very much, so sometimes it's hard to get by. 

For Christmas we are trying to plan a concert in the plaza in Posadas, we'll see how that goes. There are also Christmas devotional zone conferences which should be good. I'm not sure exactly what's planned, but they are usually pretty nice and I'm sure we will eat a lot of good food. 

Tell Liam that he might be able to dunk on me this summer because he's actually really tall, but that I'll still beat him 1 on 1.  We actually do play basketball sometimes on pday, we played this morning. It's pretty funny because there aren't that many Latin American kids that play basketball, they all play soccer.  So when i play with them i actually feel like I'm kinda good, but then when I go play with Americans i feel like I'm not that great again. We do play half court, just because it's too hot to play full court. There aren't any indoor courts, they are all outside. 

We have been having lots of success recently with some less actives that we are working with. There is a family that has come back into activity and they have the goal of going to the temple in March. Also, our ward mission leader is going to go to the temple Friday for the first time, and then will baptize his little brother the next day. There is also another lady that went to church that is in a pretty bad situation, her husband drinks a lot and is actually a cool guy, until he drinks. But he said after the holidays are over he´ll be done drinking and he´ll go to church, we´ll see. But we were teaching her brother as well, and he went to church twice and was coming along pretty well.  It turns out he has a drug problem and robs a lot of the neighbors.  They got together and tried to beat him up because they thought he robbed them and they kicked him out of the neighborhood and told him to not come back... so i dont think he´ll get baptized anytime soon. But he was a nice kid from what we saw of him.

I got the Christmas package though, thanks for the candy and the letters and toothbrushes, haha. I already ate all the chocolate covered blueberries... in one day.. they were really good, but i think the rest of the candy will last a little longer. Thanks for everything and have a great week!!!

Love, Elder Roberts

Friday, December 5, 2014

Week 67: Posadas, Argentina

Thanksgiving went pretty well, as good as it can be in a country that doesn´t celebrate Thanksgiving I guess. The food was really good, I stuffed myself on pie, it was pretty great eating homemade pie after like a year and a half. And my companion is really nice, he's interesting but he's nice, and he likes working and doing his part. We will be together I think for this change and then he is going to train someone here in the office probably, so we´ll be together probably a change and a half or two changes more.

I can´t say that I miss dark, cold rainy evenings; I might actually prefer the blazing heat.  They are making a big deal about the He is the Gift video here, i'm not sure if you've seen it but they put it on Times Square and Youtube and we are supposed to share it with everyone. So if you are reading this and haven't seen it yet... Pretty good. 

Christmas is the best time to do nice stuff for people. Well I guess all the time is a good time to do nice stuff for people, but to really enjoy Christmas you gotta get the service stuff down. I think we are going to sing in the plaza of Posadas for Christmas so that should be fun, we need to get organizing. 

Sister Murphy, who is in my zone, was really good friends with Katie and Rachel (Ben's cousins) and Uncle John was her dentist haha. And the funny thing is, Josh, whose serving a mission now, as in my cousin, was her Sunday School teacher at BYUI. So Sister Murphy officially knows our whole family haha. Super small Mormon world. 

The office is going pretty well. There is a lot to do and there were transfers this week, so that was messy. But now I kind of have to organize a bunch and see what got spent where and try to put all the reciepts together, make sure everyone has their money for this month... and finish President's card.  Then I need to fix a bunch of errors that were made these past few months with money that was spent that got put in the wrong category so that at the end of the year the money spent in 2014 gets put into all the right categories. So sometimes if we spend money on gas and it accidently gets put under the furniture category I have to go back and correct it. So that is super fun. But it actually is cool sometimes, well basically cool when you finish something and it comes out correctly. Which is rare, haha but it happens. 

I do think it is really cool though to be able to plan out things to do for other people. Sometimes we wait and say, Ahh man I would totally help someone or do something nice for someone if the oppurtunity presented itself.  But if we think ahead and plan out nice things we can do it.  The results are cool, we feel good and the person we served feels good as well. There was a lady in the ward doing a sewing project for someone and they asked if they could pay her and she said you can, but then the money will just get spent and we´ll forget it ever happened... or I can do it for free and we can all remember it for the rest of our lives. So that was cool and I guess that is the Christmas spirit. 

Thanks for everything, I love you, have a great week!!!

Elder Roberts

This was Ben's trainer.  He went home yesterday.