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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Week 74: Posadas, Argentina

Hmm, I don´t think it's true that all financial secretaries are good at math. I think i lost a lot of it. But it´s more just organizing and keeping track of everything rather than being good at math. It´s mostly adding and subtracting, so it doesn´t get too tough. For example, this week i went to Asuncion with Elder Choez, the paperwork and making everyone legal secretary, to help him and to organize and pay for all the travels for all the missionaries coming from like four different cities in Paraguay. But it was cool to go to Paraguay again, i think i like it a lot better than Argentina... so im hoping i'll get to go back before I finish. I may be leaving to go back to the field in mid May... which would give me 6 weeks in the field, or possibly in the beginning of April, which would give me 3 months. But Asuncion was fun, got to see the temple again and eat some really good Arabic food, a place that we always go to that´s across from the temple. We got back last night at 1200ish, but it was actually nice because i got to sleep on the bus. I miss Paraguay a lot.

But the Superbowl really is this Sunday? I totally forgot about the Superbowl. That's cool though. I don't feel like i'm missing too much though.. I think just missing the World Cup was tough. 

But yeah, they are making two new missions in Argentina, pretty crazy. I guess it´s growing a lot down there near Buenos Aires. Maybe the people here will catch the drift soon.. haha.  We actually are getting a little bit more help from the members now and they are getting a little bit more involved. We had our famous dessert night and actually a lot of people came, like 90 i think, and we had lots of dessert but they ate it all. But two of the young single adults shared a message, we played a game, kinda like If You Love Your Neighbor, and then ate, it went really well. Next Saturday we are having an open house at the chapel and a free car wash. While we are washing peoples' cars, we are going to invite them to see the open house for a few minutes... so hopefully it doesn't rain and that the members bring car washing supplies. We also did service last Saturday where we cleaned some more old diapers up, but also threw out a bunch of trash, old freezers, washing machines and driers that didn't work.  We also chopped some trees down and cut some grass.  Saw some tarantuals, a ton of small black frogs that jump super high, and I got attacked by a million red ants that got into my shoes and socks, but luckily i got them off pretty quickly, only got bit a little bit. But it's fun because the members are getting a little more active. There really aren't a lot of activties and things to do so usually when people get together they have a lot of fun, they just don't really know how to plan activities and stuff. So we try to plan them haha, and they usually turn out well. The people are getting a little more unified as we go, so it's fun to see. This Saturday we are going to help a lady put a roof on the back part of her house. 

Love, Elder Roberts


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Week 73: Posadas, Argentina

Secretarying was pretty good this week. Had a few knew things that i hadn't done before that i needed to figure out. President LaPierre went to the hospital this week for a lung issue he had before the mission and was operated on today.  He's fine now, everything went well, but had to organize some money for that one. I was trying to figure out how to make electronic payments, or bank transfers, but never really got to it.  But it's going well, i think I'm actually caught up on almost everything and all the big projects i had are finished now. I just have to keep going and hope nothing else crazy comes up. But its fun, i like it.  I think my new companion will come in a week or two. I'll have been with my current companion for 6 months, which is quite a long time. My companion is from Peru, and i think he is going to study afterwards.  He was studying to be a dentist, but i think he's going to change. 

(Liam made chipas for his International Club presentation on Argentina, he sent Ben a picture of them.)  Hahahahahah Liam's chipas..... that's pretty funny. Chipa is a pretty popular thing here, there are a lot of chipas. There're people that have chipa stands, there're people that ride around on bikes and sell chipa, there're people that ride around in cars and sell chipa, there're people that walk with big baskets selling chipa, and then there're the bakeries that sell lots of chipas. They're pretty good, but there's chipa with ham and cheese which is delicious. We were trying to teach a lesson the other day and this guy comes walking by with a basket full of chipa yelling CHIPPPAAA, CHIPPPA CALIENTE, VENGA A COMPRAR CHIPA CALIENTE!!! Super loud. So that was kind of distracting. He should have made empanadas though, or mandioca, hahaha. 

But yeah, the crossing the border sitauation is pretty tough.  There are lots of problems with paper work and being legal, and lots of money to spend making sure it's all done. But yeah, we are trying to strengthen the branches here. I think the church is growing, maybe not very drastically like Peru, Brazil and Mexico, but it's definetely not declining. Here it's just really inconsistent. It's pretty up and down in a lot of the branches and even in some wards. The temple is kind of far away and sometimes there just isn't enough man power to push the church along, but it's doing well. 

But the teaching is going pretttty welll. We have a few investigators, two couples that are pretty interested, but not really becuase they are Catholic, even though they haven't gone to church in like 10 years. But they are liking what they are learning and we are hoping they can go to the activity tomorrow and meet some of the members and get a feel of what the church is like. 

We are having a lot of success with less actives though. The ones we were visiting before are now pretty active and we found a few others last week. We were trying to use the MLS, the member list, and look for peoples' houses and we couldn't find anyone on the list, but then contacting we found this lady who was kinda waiting for someone to say, "hey, go back to church!" So we had some good lessons with her and she went last week and then we were headed to her house to teach her and this guy stops us in the street and says, "hey… I've been wanting to talk to you guys, it's been about 5 years since I've gone to church and I need to go back." So we taught him the next day after he got home from work and he told us how his wife left him and took all his kids and he doesn't really know how they are doing and he's kind of lost. And then there is another guy where he is the only member of his family, his wife is super evangelical but really nice.  He was having a tough time too, not really feeling lots of support, and his dad died and he and the other guy are both elders.  They both had callings in the quorom when they were active, so they know quite a bit and i think with a  little bit of help and support from the members they'll be good. But i think the trick is visiting the less actives with the members becuase they don't really do their visits unless you go with them and basically do it with them.  So we did, and it went really well and i feel like the ward is catching on a little bit and is progressing, getting a little bit more excited about missionary work. 

But thanks for everything!! Thanks for the letter and the support and i hope everyone has a great week!!!

Love, Elder Roberts

Friday, January 16, 2015

Week 72: Posadas, Argentina

My week wassssss great! And really busy, but good. I´m realizing that the office is pretty cool, it's helping me a lot to organize my time and things i have to do. I really can actually feel myself getting better at stress management, like knowing i have a lot to do and little time to do it.  But it's weird, i don't really get too stressed out now. 

I´ve stopped drinking soda and eating so much unhealthy stuff and eating at night and now I'm trying to eat more fruit, and omelets for breakfast... and i'm going to try and start doing more exercises. It would be nice to run in the morning, but no one wants to run, haha. 

But woahh that's awesome that you saw Presdient Eyring... kinda jealous. Do you know if the temple is going to be closed again this summer? 

But congrats for your observation that went well mom!! That's always a relief. Also, pretty fun that there are lots of activites in the church. We are trying to start ward night types of thing, but sometimes it's hard because lots of members don't have a mode of transporation and buses are getting kind of expensive. They play soccer here at the church every Tuesdays and Thursdays we are having a dessert night.

Happy Martin Luther king day! haha yeah i dont think anyone here knows about that… I think they only know about September 11th; it's weird, people ask me sometimes, "Oooh, woah in  your country those planes knocked over those buildings right…?"

I think I'm grateful to be in a warmer mission than a cold mission. The heat stinks, but i can at least move and function, I think the cold would be tough. (Ben's cousin Josh is in Vermont where it was -35 degrees with the wind chill this week.)

Sorry my emails aren't too exciting these days, i'll try to think of more cool stuff that happened.  I just always run out of time or can't remember want happened this past week... But I'll try to get better, haha. Well have a great week and enjoy the long weekend.

love, Elder Roberts

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Week 71: Posadas, Argentina

Sounds like it's pretty cold up there.  I kind of miss the snow, but there will probably be plenty of it in the future. This year actually hasn´t been as hot as last year. There have been some tough days, but the temperature hasn't gotten too crazy yet. February is usually the worst month though.  

That is great grand mom and grand dad are doing genealogy work.  I'm not really sure if there are lots of members that do it here, but I do see the lady that is in charge of it here in the stake center a lot, so there must be something going on. I think people go to the temple quite often here. 

I think it would be a great idea to go to the beach house this summer... haha but that's my opinion. The beach sounds fun. Actually swimming sounds pretty fun. I feel like I forgot how to swim. 

Anyway, we have not found a new apartment, it's pretty tough actually to find one here in Posadas. I think we may keep living in the same one and fix it up a little. Well the owner was supposed to fix the windows, but that never really happened... We moved our little air conditioner to a smaller side room that we have so we can close the door and the cold air actually stays in. We are also losing more missionaries than we are recieving so we are using part of our apartment as a storage unit.... which is fun, kinda. It saves money for when we open a new area and we don't have to buy a bunch of new stuff.

We had a big conference on Tuesday with all the leaders from the mission which was pretty cool. We talked about working more with the members and there were a lot of changes. The key indicators changed and now the only numbers we report on are lessons with members, references, confirmations, and attendance of investigators at church.  I think the area is staying alright, nothing much is happening, so let's have some change. Without change things sometimes can't get better.

But what I think is one of the coolest things is the organization of the church. Being in the office and seeing some of the behind the scenes stuff- it's pretty crazy how organized the church is and how well it runs.  Even though there are mistakes here and there, it continues to grow pretty rapidly. I feel like there is never a drop, there is always something better or something new that's happening.  I really beleive in the revelation and the fact that God is talking to his Prophet today and that he´s leading His church.

But thanks for the letter and the update on life in America. Have a great week, enjoy the cold!! 

love, Elder Roberts

Friday, January 2, 2015

Week 70: Posadas, Argentina

This week was prettttty great. I guess i havent written for two weeks now because we skyped last week. But the last two weeks have been really good!! Really busy with Christmas and all, but we have enjoyed it. I think a gained a few pounds but the new year's diet...

The cockroaches keep coming strong, but you really just get used to them.. Now the problem is that when it rains the water kinda floods our apartment.. and it rained alot this passed week.  (Ben said when we skyped that the occasional cat also comes in through the window and he finds him sleeping on his bed.)  Usually there are lots of fireworks on New Year's Eve and lots of people walking along the coastline to watch them, but it rained super hard and instead of fireworks there was a crazy lightning storm. 

I think it's cool that there are lots of activites at the temple at Christmas time. I guess we do take for granted the fact that there is a temple pretty close to our house and it's easy to get to.  In Paraguay there are buses to go to Asuncion to the temple so it is pretty easy, and in Posadas you just have to cross the border and head up. But it is a little harder, farther, and more expensive. 

Christmas was kind of interesting. I found it a little hard to try and focus on the true meaning of Christmas, even being in the mission with all the stuff that was going on. It was good though.  And even being away from home, being hot outside, and doing different stuff, it still felt like Christmas.. and New Years was good as well. Despite the rain, it was fun. We went and ate dinner with a family and watched some church videos and made scalloped potatoes and grilled a bunch of meat in the rain. 

There was a kid that was supposed to get baptized last Saturday, but his mom got kind of upset with him for something he did so she decided to make him wait. But there was another kid that goes to church with his older brother that we are reactivating.  A year and a half ago the older brother was in really bad shape with drugs, alcohol, and stuff like that, but he´s now our ward mission leader and is starting his mission papers to be able to head out this year.  It's been pretty crazy to see the change in him, Pepe. Turned his whole life around and now seems a lot happier. The thing that helped the most i think is one of the young single adults in the ward has helped him a lot-is always by his side and inviting him places and teaching him stuff. I think a friend like that in the church really just helps a person become and stay active for the rest of their life. Pretty cool.

But anyway, I hope everyone had a great Christmas and a fun new year. Until next weeeeeeek

Elder Roberts