Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas on the Mish‏


Merry Christmas!

This week was pretty good. Wednesday was Christmas Eve, which was quite different here in Argentina than in the states.  Here every stays up all night and eats food and celebrates outside with their friends and families.  President gives permission for missionaries to be out late, until 1 or 2 AM, if we are with families that live close to the pension.  We ate dinner with a less active family, (which is normal here, there are no active families).  It was fun, then we went back to the pension and slept.  

Studying on Christmas Day

Christmas was very different.  No gifts to unwrap, just read some letters and scriptures!  But it was fun, in its own way, really gives one an opportunity to reflect and be grateful for people and past experiences.  Elder Muñoz and I had a good time, listening to Christmas music in English and in Spanish.  It was a very different Christmas, much quieter than normal, but enjoyable.  Thursday morning I got to talk to my family! We went to 3 different places before we finally found a home where the Skype worked.  It was a family that we had reactivated the day before, they hadn't been to church or talked with the missionaries in months.  Definitely a miracle in my eyes!

Elder Mangum and Elder Munoz

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday flew by.  We visited lots of people, trying to encourage them all to come to church on Sunday.  Attendance on Sunday was better than last week, we made it up to 10 people.  I gave a talk again, this time on setting goals.  There is a really good talk from Elder Cook from this past general conference that talks a lot about it.  Sunday night me and my comp headed to La Rioja Capital, he has to go to Cordoba for a training so I am spending this P-day in a trio with other missionaries.  3 weeks into the transfer, and still yet to have a normal Pday!  

Ready for church in our pension

Schedule is a little different, more time in the pension in the afternoon to cook and eat lunch, plus it is so hot outside that we take our study time in the morning and use some in the afternoon.  During the afternoon in Argentina is the siesta, everybody sleeps and nobody answers the doors.  

Hot and dusty Aimogasto - we love it though!

At church my comp and I take turns teaching Gospel Principles, and we both give talks every week. We use normal sacrament trays and cups.  There is only 1 deacon.  Supposedly there are a couple of YW on the lists, but I have never seen them.  Nothing too different here for the New Years as far as traditions go. 

Love you all!


Elder Mangum




More Pictures from Elder Mangum-

Argentina Cordoba Christmas Mission Conference December 2014



The District con Papa Noel y helpers

Together Again!

Christmas in Aimogasta 2014

 Saying Goodbye to mi familias en Rio Cellabos





Hector's Baptism in Rio Ceballos Dec 13th 2014

Saying goodbye to Familia Funes

Pictures from Rio Ceballos

Tree Stump that reminded me of shape of Texas

Random hail storm we got stuck in


Welcome to Aimogasto





Portable Baptismal Font in our Apartment


Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Christmas Miracle


The day after Christmas we were able to Skype with Elder Mangum in Argentina.  It was the best part of the holidays.  It was so great to see his fuzzy picture and hear his voice.  Because of the remote part of Argentina they are in and the lack of members and limited technology in the area, we knew we wouldn't be speaking to him until December 26th when things were open, and weren't sure if it would be by phone or Skype.  After waiting a few hours on December 26th, the computer pinged and we were in business. On Christmas Day the Elders had made contact with a family that hadn't been to church in months and they invited them in and had a computer that worked with Skype.  It was a Christmas miracle!  We are so grateful to them to having the Elders over so we could talk with Michael.  It was fun to wave and speak our very limited Spanish to them too :)

We started and ended our call with everybody on at once, then each person had a few minutes alone with Michael to talk about the mission, school and whatever they wanted.  Jake asked Michael a lot of great questions and we learned lots of details about his life in Argentina.  They also talked basketball and Michael gave Jake some tips for this new season he is about to start at the Y.

Jake and Michael

Hayley, Trevor and Michael had a lot of stories to swap with each other about school, church and mission.  They had a lot of fun talking to each other.

Hayley and Michael
Trevor and Michael
Lots of Fun Stories 
Luke was excited to show Michael all his Christmas gifts, from the Lego Star Wars fighter he and Jake built to the picture he had gotten of him and Michael before Michael left on his mission.*  Michael has a copy of that same picture with him in Argentina that he shows people when they ask about his family. Luke thought it was pretty cool that they both have it now.

Luke showing Michael his Christmas gifts
Words can't express how great it was to see and talk to our missionary!

Don and Michael

Jean, Michael and Elder Muñoz

We wrapped up the phone call all together again, laughing mixed with a few tears.  Michael said a great family prayer before we ended, that was a treasure in itself.  It was so great to see and hear him, laugh as he unconsciously slipped into speaking Spanish mid sentence, and then he would catch himself, smile and start speaking English.  


We love you Elder Mangum!!



*For a Christmas gift from Michael, each of the kids received a framed picture of themselves doing something with Michael before he left for Argentina and a surprise personal note from him that he emailed me a couple days before Christmas.  It was a special moment on Christmas morning when they all opened their pictures and read their notes from Michael.




Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Aimogasta

My first week in Aimogasta went pretty well!  Elder Muñoz and I get along great, no language barrier between us with the Spanish which is fantastic.  Mission Conference yesterday was a blast, President dressed up and Santa (Papa Noel) and we had a ton of food and games.  I got some packages, which will make this Thursday a lot more enjoyable!  Saw a lot of old friends from the MTC and my first couple of transfers.  We put together a basketball team, with my trainer and a couple of other guys from my first zone, and dominated the mission.  It was a lot of fun to catch up and talk with old people, and of course I am never going to complain about a little basketball!  

The week was good, we are teaching a ton and time is flying by.  The good thing about the branch is that all the people are either less active or recent converts, so everybody that we visit has a purpose and a necessity that we need to help out with.  We had 8 people show up on Sunday to church, including the missionaries. 2 were investigators.  Definitely a little different than back home!  I gave a talk on the birth of Christ and the meaning of Christmas, which went pretty well.  I will be pretty comfortable giving talks by the end of this area, it is a weekly occurrence here.  The branch comes to the apartment to meet up every Sunday.  We run the branch as missionaries, the mission president is trying to get us officially called and set apart so that we can have the keys and make everything run more effectively. My comp and I are the branch presidency, unofficially. There is no branch presidency called, we are an annex of a branch that is over 2 hours away. There is not another area like this one in the mission, so I'm not sure if that means I am on the President's naughty or nice list. I would imagine nice, he must have some trust in us to put us here. It's been fun so far, the first week flew by.  

We have electricity in about half of the apartment, but not the bathroom.  We bathe ourselves with a bucket in the dark every morning.  The most different thing about the new area is the lack of people.  There may have been more people at Lamar than there are in this town.  The food is all noodles that me and my comp make, there are no members to feed us.  No plans for Christmas, just me and my companion celebrating solo.  We have a small blow up pool that we use for baptisms in the apartment. Hopefully I will get to use it within these next couple of weeks!  

As far as what you can pray for, just I guess that I´ll stay healthy and well. This will probably be the most difficult area, we talked with President yesterday and he said there is a reason that it is us 2 serving in the branch.  There is not another area like this in the mission.  We´ll have some fun though, and baptize!  The people are really humble and receptive to the teachings, so that is great!  Thanks for the update on the fam, it is always great to hear that everybody is excelling. I will Skype home on the 26th in the morning. Hopefully the skype will work. The are no members to do it from their house, so we have to go to an internet cafe and all are closed on Christmas day. We should call between 7 and 9 in the morning your time. Hope its not too inconvenient. In all honesty it may end up being a phone call with the technology of this town. But we will see what happens!  

Love you all!

Elder Mangum

PS:  Y’all might get a laugh out of this.  The address of the chapel is: The house of the ex-mother in-law of Ringo Luna.  It’s a little different, but everybody knows it!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Transferred!



Hey family!

Well I got transferred!  I am now in a totally different province of Argentina.  I am in Aimogasta, in the province of La Rioja.  The climate is a lot like Arizona, for the summer, which starts next week, it’ll average about 120 degrees in dry heat.  Gotta love changes!  Saying goodbye wasn’t easy, and it was 8 hours on bus to get to my new area.  I left last night at midnight, haven’t really gotten any sleep, so sorry if this email doesn’t make much sense!

The week was really good.  Hector got baptized on Saturday, and Alejandra and Catalina are continuing strong in the faith!  Hector was just a contact on the street 3 weeks ago, but it is amazing to see how God has prepared people all their lives for a specific moment to meet the missionaries.  He was definitely what we call escogido.  We also were teaching two people, Ester and Carolina, that were progressing nicely before I left and should be baptized in Rio Ceballos by the end of the year.

Yesterday was one of the hardest days of the mission, saying goodbye to what really had been my home and family for the past 4 months. Particularly to people such as Alejandra, Catalina, and Hermana Martinelli who have really played a significant role in my life in the time I was there. But the call is from God, and there is a quote from President Eyring that says God knows our areas that we will be in, and the companions as well.  I am with Elder Muñoz, from Nicaragua.  It is just us 2 in the pension, which is also the chapel.  It is a branch of about 15 people, and we are the branch presidency.  We conduct the meetings and give talks every week, as well as teach the lessons.  Church is only 2 hours though, just sacrament and Gospel Principles.  I am pumped to get to work here, they have quite a few baptisms already lined up for the rest of the month, the people here are really humble and eager to learn.

We didn’t do a ton of gift sharing this week, but we did hand out a few cards each day.  Best thing I ate was fried chicken and french fries with Familia Aspitia yesterday before I left.  A song we sang this week, It Came upon a Midnight Clear.   I play the piano when I get the chance, which won’t happen at all in this area seeing as there is no piano.  We will be showering from a bucket again, because that is the norm in this area.  It is in the 80s and 90s now, which is nothing compared to what it will be in a few weeks!  My favorite flavor candy cane is just the classic red and white.  

I’m glad to hear that everyone is doing well, and is excited to wrap up this first semester of the school year!  We have a mission conference with the entire mission next Monday back in Cordoba (more bus rides!), so I’m not sure when the next email will be, either Monday or Tuesday probably. Good luck everybody on this last week of school!  Love you!


Elder Mangum

Monday, December 8, 2014

Share the Gift

Hey fam,

This week was a good week, another one that flew by.  This whole transfer has been a fast one, we are already down to the last week of it!  On Tuesday we had the opportunity to visit an elderly member who lives in a nursing home.  She had been doing some proselyting of her own, and wanted us to come and visit.  It was quite a bit of fun, at one point I was completely surrounded by wheelchairs and walkers, teaching 4 or 5 different people over the age of 80 at once, and my companion was in the same situation about 15 feet away.  It was definitely a good experience, to be able to answer their questions and teach them, primarily concerning the Plan of Salvation.  

We continued to teach Hector/Hugo (same person, he goes by both names) throughout the week, and he came to church again yesterday. We’re planning his baptismal service for this Saturday, he is really excited.  He views it as an opportunity to start over, to be a different and better person, a new beginning with his eyes focused on God and Jesus Christ.  Those are his very own words, which are always good to hear from the investigator.  

Sunday was good, always love fast and testimony meeting.  It’s not as much fun as it is at home, but it is close some months!  We also had ward council, which was good, only the 2nd time in my nearly 5 months here that we have had it, but it went well.  Some people don’t realize it, but these little frequent meetings with all of the auxiliaries really make the ward function smoother.

Hermano Keller is killing it in his callings, we’ve already met twice in the week since he’s been called.  He knows the doctrine of missionary work.  It is definitely getting hotter, and that is what Christmas looks like here!  We have pass along cards for the Share the Gift initiative, and we report the results to the missionary department on how it is going.  I have gotten a couple letters from friends and the Owens and Sister Hagen.  The funnest thing I did this week was the nursing home experience.  No Christmas trees yet, and they are planning a Christmas/end of the year ward party.  My favorite scripture this week was Helaman 5:12, a lot of focus on that this week.  We were not able to watch the devotional last night, it was broadcast here at 10 at night.  Sounds like you all are having a blast with friends and family back home!  Love and miss you all.


Elder Mangum







Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving

Hey family,

This week was a really good week, much better than the past couple.  We found a new investigator on Monday night, who ended up coming to church yesterday.  His name is Hugo, and he’s about 60, with a potential baptismal date this month for the 13th.  Tuesday we did intercambios within the district, I was with Elder Richardson, which was fun because we both got to this area at the same time about 4 months ago.  We visited an elderly hermana in the ward who is practically bedridden because of her health, but she knows the doctrine of the church.  She taught us for about an hour, it was really interesting to listen to, and an experience that once again affirmed to me the veracity of the gospel.  

Thursday was Thanksgiving!  Except it isn’t celebrated here, so it was just a normal day of work.  We did have dinner with la familia Keller though, which is always a good time.  Friday we had dinner with Famila Lehite, he was our ward mission leader but a couple weeks ago he was called as the new Elder’s Quorum President. It’s not normal that we had 2 dinners in one week, the big meal here in Argentina is lunch, but it was nice for a little change this week.  Saturday was pretty fun, we had lunch with the Kellers again, and afterwards as we were walking and proselyting, it started pouring down rain and hail.  We got soaked to the bone, and the temperature dropped like 20 degrees.  It was cold, and definitely an experience I won’t be forgetting!  

Sunday Hugo came to church and said he enjoyed it, so that was good.  Hermano Keller got called as Ward Mission Leader, he is now both the executive secretary to the Bishop and the ward mission leader, and his wife is Young Women’s president.  They’ve got their hands full, and that’s not counting the 7 month old baby they have.  They are definitely one of my favorite families in the ward, and they speak English, which is a rarity for a couple under the age of 25 here. Sunday we also had a really good lesson with Cataline about the importance of the sacrament.  We read 3rd Nephi18:1-12, and explained what it meant, and what the sacrament meant to us personally.  It was a really good lesson, the spirit was definitely there in abundance testifying!  

We sing Christmas songs in the pension, but none in church yet.  I haven’t ate anything in particular that has made me sick, nor have we had seconds of anything this week, because with the 4 of us in the pension most of the meal is gone within 15 minutes.  A scripture that I shared this week would be Doctrine and Covenants 58:31.  Favorite tradition is just eating together during the holidays, that is definitely something I am going to miss. Haven’t seen any Christmas decorations yet, but I will let you know when I do!  The thing I like best about Argentina would probably be the food, I have had some really good meals.  

I am glad to hear that everybody is doing well and enjoyed Thanksgiving!  Now you’ve got 3 weeks more of school, and then even more vacation!  It will be a fun time, I always love this time of year.  Love you all!


Elder Mangum

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Goals


Michael & Trevor outside of Houston Temple, June 2014

Hello Family!
This week went by fairly quickly. Wednesday we had a zone conference with about 100 missionaries or so.  The other 3 elders in my pension are all super musical, so I got the...opportunity to participate in the small choir that sang "Trabajemos Hoy en la obra del Señor" which is Let Us All Press On in English. We sang the version that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang in the April conference of this year, the Sunday morning session.  It actually ended up sounding pretty good for only having practiced it twice.  Saturday and Sunday were Stake Conference here in the Argentina Cordoba Sierras Stake. Our ward had the musical number on the Saturday evening session, and guess who were the only men to show up to sing? The missionaries!  We sang "Acompañame", which in English is Abide With Me. Elder Juan Urra from the 70 came and spoke in the conference, native of Argentina. It was a really good conference, with an overall theme of unity in the family and having the temple as our goal.  Family unity starts with having a purpose, a family goal.  It is also really important that everybody knows the goal, communication is the key. I have a picture of the Houston temple above my desk where I study, to remember my personal goals.  Crazy to believe the transfer is already more than half over!  In 3 weeks I could be in a completely different part of the province.  I hope not though, I would like to spend Christmas here.
Never found Valentina this week, hopefully we’ll be able to tackle that problem this week.  We have not given any blessings at all this transfer, which is actually very unusual.  Summer vacation starts here in Argentina in about 3 weeks. The best thing I ate this week was yesterday, fried chicken and french fries con Familia Aspitia. I would be more than happy with just the normal Thanksgiving dinner, turkey and mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. The Mormon Message I remember most is Sanctify Yourself by Elder Holland.  No special plans this week, just need to find investigators. No service projects lately, and it is starting to get hot.
It’s great to hear that everybody is doing well and having fun.  Hope everybody has a great Thanksgiving break this week!  I am definitely thankful for all of you and for the influence everybody has had on me to help me get to where I am today.

Love,

Elder Mangum

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Together Forever

Elder Mangum outside of the construction of the
Cordoba Temple on his first day in Argentina


Fam,

This week went by quickly.  Elder Summers and I are getting into a groove, and time is starting to fly.  Not a very productive week as far as numbers go, but it was good, and I learned a few things.  I spent quite a lot of study time reading from old General Conference talks, particularly from President Hinckley.  Hermana Martinelli calls me her President Hinckley, so I figured I would study up to see how I could possibly remind her of a prophet.  Still haven’t found an answer to that.  

Tuesday we got a text message saying from Alejandra saying she was in the hospital.  She had been feeling a lot of pain and went in, and they kept her there for 3 days to do some tests.  They didn’t find out what was wrong, so they released her and they are going to do some more this week I believe.  She came to church yesterday though, so that was really good!  We found out this week that Valentina’s mother is really Catholic and against her going to church, so we are going to go visit the whole family this week with a couple of converts to explain that we’re not THAT weird of a people.  

Sunday was a fantastic day.  Alejandra and Catalina both came to church, and it was the Primary Program here in Rio Ceballos. I may have teared up a few times.  The scriptures are right when they say the kingdom of heaven is a lot like little children.  They are full of light and of the spirit.  The theme was on the family, and there was a big photo of the Cordoba Temple up behind them.  As they were singing, I couldn’t help but think about my family thousands of miles away.  And that no matter what happens, we are together forever, and that thought alone is so comforting I can’t explain it with words. 

We did not visit Hermano Alegre again last week, his daughter just got off of her mission and was visiting, but we are going to go visit him again this week.  He actually got released on Sunday as a counselor in the bishopric.

Q/A’s - The funnest thing I did this week...we played a lot of basketball last Pday after I emailed y’all, that was fun.  My favorite Star Wars character, probably R2D2.  He is a wise guy, he’s there as part of the story the whole time.  I have not cooked anything yet, still searching what some of the ingredients are in Spanish.  A member is called to teach gospel principles, but she is less active, therefore usually one of us do.  We try to do stuff with the youth, usually go out once a week with one, and play soccer with them on Wednesday nights.  We sang Master the Tempest is raging this week, and a scripture that I have been thinking about a lot is James 1:22, applying really to members and their homes where there is no priesthood presence.

Glad to here that everybody is doing well!  I love hearing the stories of the week.  Love you all!


Elder Mangum





**This is English Version of one of the songs sung in Primary Programs worldwide this year.

The Family is of God


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Changes

Alejandra's Baptism, 2 weeks ago


Fam,

This week was a week of changes. Changed companions from Elder Gravelle to Elder Summers, and Elder Summers came and changed up the area. Before there were 4 missionaries sharing the whole ward, without specific divisions. Not anymore, he split the ward right down the middle and said we get the north half and the other elders get the south half. Then he took our area and split it into 5 zones and color coded them so that we can easily see which members live in each zone.  I wasn’t a big fan of it at the time, but it does make sense, and more organization isn’t a bad thing.

Tuesday we taught Valentina the Plan of Salvation, and her older sister Lucia came and listened to us as well, and seemed quite interested. I was actually with Elder Willis from Florida that day, because my comp wanted to do exchanges, which he can do because he is the district leader. Thursday we passed by a reference, Agustina, with a couple of youth in the ward. Her mom is an inactive member, so we are trying to help the whole family out. Baptisms and reactivation at the same time, that’s what we call 2 birds with 1 stone!  

On Friday we finally visited Alejandra. As soon as we left her house it started raining and hailing like crazy, we were completely soaked when we got to lunch.  Sunday was a fun day.  Keller called me right before church and asked if I could give the talk I had prepared a couple of weeks ago, because the speakers that were supposed to talk bailed on him. I think it went pretty well, not as smooth as it would have been in English, but the people understood me por lo menos! That night we got to go out with Bishop and take the sacrament to Hermano Alegre, the counselor who is too sick to come to church. I always enjoy bringing the sacrament and visiting the elderly, I find that I end up learning and being helped a lot more than I help them.

My favorite Christmas song...would have to be Mary Did You Know. Or Christmas shoes, both are really good.  As far a traditional Christmas songs go, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. My favorite thing this week was taking the sacrament to Hermano Alegre. I have not done any soccer or basketball lately, but that is set to change in a couple of hours. We drink juice the most in Argentina, from little packets the most popular of which being orange flavored. We can drink the water in the apartment, but the mission provides a big tank of clean water for us. We usually get about 5 or 6 meals a week from members, and never eat in restaurants.  Although there is a guy that delivers Lomitos, he has our number and address saved and we buy from him probably 2 or 3 times a week. A scripture I read this week would be Mosiah 4.  The whole chapter is awesome. This week I can’t say I laughed a ton, can’t pick out a specific moment.  Need to change that.  This week it would be awesome if you could pray for Valentina to get baptized within the next 2 weeks.  Love you all!  Thanks for all of your support.

Love,


Elder Mangum

Monday, November 3, 2014

Transfers - New Companion!

This week flew by.  It was the last week of the transfers, and my last week with my trainer Elder Gravelle.  This week was really good, we continued visiting Alejandra and Catalina who amaze me more and more each time we go with their knowledge and testimony of the gospel.  This week we taught Catalina’s friend, Valentina.  She came to church as well and has a baptismal date for the 15th of November, and we have high hopes for her.

On Thursday we also taught our investigator Susanna, and read Alma 34 with her.  She once again was in tears by the end, and knows with conviction that her Father in Heaven will never leave her solo. Also, she asked both me and my companion why we came out on the mission, and I was able to share with her my reasons and my testimony of the importance of the Atonement and the Gospel and the happiness it brings.

This week we also had the opportunity to have the first ward activity of the year, a Noche de Empanadas, on Friday.  It was a lot of fun.  Chango Funes brought all of his performing equipment, lots of microphones and speakers and lights and, of course, music.  We had a little bit of Karaoke and a whole bunch of empanadas!  It was a good night, a good chance for the ward to just get together and have a good time.

Yesterday after church Elder Gravelle and I got to go around to a few families he wanted to see before he left. We spent quite a while with the two converts that we have helped these past 2 transfers together, and it was really neat to see just how much us missionaries mean to the converts. 

This morning I got my new companion, Elder Summers from Provo, Utah.  He is almost done with his mission, this is his second to last transfer.  We’ve only known each other for about 4 hours, but he seems pretty cool.  I’m excited to get to work with him here in Rio Ceballos for the next 6 weeks, por lo menos!  

Answers to your ?’s - They do have chocolate, but it’s not the same.  No AC, just fans.  The best food...Keller made pizza, which was awesome.  We ride the bus everyday, probably 3 or 4 times. Today I got my new comp for Pday.  I have 2 name tags.  Never ended up giving the talk in church, I guess they forgot.  A scripture I shared this week was the end of Abraham 3, talking about the premortal existence and the war in heaven.  

Baby number 4, Congrats Matt and Jen, that is awesome.  Glad to hear Halloween was so much fun.  Love you all!

Hope everybody is doing well!

Love,
Elder Mangum

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Work Moves Forward

Hey fam,

This week was really good. Another week that just flew by!  It has been in the 80s and 90s all week temperature wise, and hit 100 today.  And this is supposed to be Spring.  We did quite a bit of service this week, mainly in the landscaping department, and moving bags of concrete that weigh more than I do. We helped out Hermana Martinelli and one of her nonmember friends. We visited Alejandra almost everyday this week, making sure she felt ready for the baptism. 

Thursday was a really good day. We had a lesson with Catalina, the girl who got baptized last week, who brought her friend, Valentina, who appears to be legitimately interested in the gospel as well. Also, we went to Salsipuedes on Thursday, which is a little pueblito outside of Rio Ceballos. Cordoba Capital is like Houston, Rio Ceballos is Sugarland, and Salsipuedes is Sienna Plantation, at least in regards to distances.  Although we ride busses, so everything takes quite a bit longer. And Salsipuedes is probably the poorest of the 3 as well. We went to visit Susanna, who we found a couple of weeks ago, and had already read the whole Book of Mormon when we found her. We went over the Plan of Salvation, and she was in tears as we went over the Atonement. She is in a rough situation right now, separated from her husband who is an alcoholic and she’s living in the back of her sewing shop. As we talked about how Christ knew what she was going through, and had suffered for all of these pains and afflictions that she is experiencing, the Spirit was incredibly strong. She told us that she needs to be baptized, but doesn’t want to rush anything or feel pressured. She’s already told us that she knows the Book of Mormon is true and is currently in the process of reading it again.  It’s only a matter of time, we are going back on Thursday to teach the Restoration, which she is already familiar with. We’ll see what happens!

Saturday we had burgers with the Stake President, and then the baptism of Alejandra! Elder Gravelle and I have been teaching her for the past 2 1/2 months, and it is amazing to see the progression that she has made in that time.  I remember the first time we went to her home, it was my 3rd day in Argentina, and she didn’t want anything. The only reason we went back is because her daughter was interested. Now, after slow and steady progress week by week, she made it. The baptismal service was really nice, her daughter even came.  The only reason she isn’t baptized yet is because she lives with her boyfriend, but we´re trying to fix that.  The Bishop performed the ordinance because he knew her, and the Spirit was there in abundance. It is really neat to see how people completely change into new, better, and happier people when they live the Gospel.

Answers to the fam’s ?’s :

My shoes are always dusty, I have to brush them off every night when I get home.  No primary program as of yet, and I haven’t heard anything about one. Nobody snores, and the food I miss most from home are the chocolate chip cookies.  Send me the recipe!   I will try to celebrate Thanksgiving, although I doubt I will be with this companion because transfers are this weekend and we have already been together for nearly 3 months. Spiritual highlight of the week was the Atonement discussion with Susanna, closely followed by the baptism.  I just finished reading Jesus the Christ.  I am currently studying a lot about the Atonement and the life of Christ.  We do have a baptismal font, and what made me smile today was opening up my email and seeing how loved I am by friends and family.  Glad to hear that everybody is having fun and doing well!

Love you all,

Elder Mangum
PS - No pictures this week, got a bad computer.  Next week I’ll send them, the baptism was a blast! I would love the chocolate chip cookie recipe, and any others that you think are simple and I could use here.  Love you!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Baptism!


Catelina's Baptism!
 
Hey fam,

This week flew by. They say everything goes a lot faster and is a lot more fun when you’re baptizing, and I can testify to that! Tuesday was a fun, or rather a very funny day.  A recent convert of about 2 years invited us over for lunch on her birthday, she’s about 45 and has kids in primary and young womens. Her mother, who is not a member and is legally blind, also came.  Everything was going pretty normal until they brought out the cake that the old blind lady had made. It was chocolate and banana, and tasted terrible...I could have sworn the bananas were rotten or something. So we finish eating the cake, and the mom starts cackling over in the corner, and we ask what is so funny.  She then tells us that she spiked the cake with liquor AFTER it had been cooked, and that is why it tasted so different and was so moist that it was literally soaked in alcohol.  Needless to say, everything from that point on that day was a little off!  I had made it nearly 19 years without ever partaking of a drop of alcohol, then 3 months into being a missionary that´s not true anymore.  Definitely not a story I was expecting to ever tell!

Thursday Catalina passed her baptismal interview.  This is the 17 year old girl who is neighbors with the stake president and showed up out of the blue to General Conference and loved it.  She had been prepared for baptism before we even showed up.  Saturday was the baptism, a very good day.  My first baptism of the mission, hopefully the first of many to come. The stake president performed the ordinance, which was really cool because he has known her since she was a toddler. On Sunday she got confirmed, and Alejandra showed up for church.  Alejandra will should be getting baptized this upcoming Saturday, 2 baptisms in 2 weeks!  Which is really good in this area, they have only had about 8 in the past year. I was supposed to give a talk on Sunday as well, but the other missionary who spoke, not my companion, took over 30 minutes so they postponed my talk for another week. It was also Mother’s Day here in Argentina, and we had dinner with Hermana Martinelli, who has been a widow for about 25 years. She sends her saludos (best wishes) to the family, specifically Mom, and says thank you for allowing me to leave yall for 2 years to come bless the people here.

The strangest thing I have eaten in Argentina, other than that cake, is blood sausage.  They do celebrate Halloween, but it is not as big, and there is no peanut butter.  The best thing of the week was definitely the baptism.  Funniest thing this week was the whole day of Tuesday.  Something I am grateful for today would have to be pictures, because they bring back lots of memories.  If I had to give a talk, it would be on Mosiah 18, the baptismal covenant...oh wait I am giving a talk on that soon!   It is awesome to hear how well everybody is doing, and how much fun yall are having.

Love you all!

Michael  

Our District


 
View from our apartment