Thursday, August 28, 2014

Priesthood Blessings

In Michael's last email home, he talked about having the opportunity to give a couple of Priesthood blessings for healings on his mission.  

Below is a video that Michael liked a lot as he prepared to serve a mission that talks about being worthy to give blessings and the importance of preparing oneself to serve whenever the need arises.  It is humbling and wonderful to see Elder Mangum serving and growing this way as he serves the Lord and the people of Argentina.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 25th Email


Glad to hear everything is going well at home.   I´m glad everybody looks so excited to start school back up! Highlights from this week include placing 3 baptismal dates for the 13th of September, but then none of them showing up for church on Sunday, so we´ll have to work on that.  I gave two blessings this week, both of healing.  The first I did in English, because I had no idea how to say it in Spanish.  I learned a valuable lesson from that family though, that it is not the language that matters, but the faith. Yesterday I gave a blessing in Spanish, and I think it went pretty well.  Also I was in the circle for ordaining one of our recent converts to the Aaronic Priesthood.  

I´m really growing to love the study time, and everything I can get from the scriptures, they are full of nuggets on every page.  We had an open door night at a neighboring ward´s chapel, all the missionaries from the zone went and contacted outside on the street and invited people to come in and take a tour and learn a little bit about the church and what we do.  Yesterday I taught gospel principles, basically just lesson 3 from Preach My Gospel using 2nd Nephi 31.  

This week we watched the film God´s Army, fantastic movie, makes me want to go out and work milagros.  This ward is very different from anything I have ever been apart of, no ward council, and no ward missionaries.  Makes things a little difficult, but we make it work.  I am definitely enjoying my time so far, and have learned a lot, both in regards to the language and to the gospel.  No blisters on my feet, and no baptisms yet.  Last transfer they only had 1 in this area, but we´ll beat that this transfer.  

Somebody I have met in Argentina...Familia Funes.  They are less active, and are trying to make a comeback to the church.  He is a musician, and plays a dozen instruments, including guitar and violin. We are set to have FHE at his house tonight, and dinner again tomorrow. They have 3 kids, and Hermano Funes wants to go out with us and just contact, because he is a fairly big name and thinks it will help get people interested.

Familia Funes

Answers of questions from the fam - The best thing I ate this week was pollo and rice, which is just chicken and rice, and it was the best thing because it is literally what we ate every day this week.  Haven´t had anything weird to eat yet.  We ride the bus everyday, several times per day.  No service projects yet, and I have been chased by a dog. It has not rained yet, although it has cooled down a little. Hardest thing is waking up in the mornings and walking all day.  It’s good though, I definitely am not going to put on any weight in this area.  

Love you all.

Elder Mangum

Pictures from First Couple of Days in Argentina

Bienvenido a Argentina!
August 12, 2014

Visiting the Córdoba Argentina Temple on August 13, 2014 

We watched as the Angel Moroni was installed on the spire.  The temple is on the same grounds as the Argentina Córdoba Mission Home.

Construction Status ( - 
On August 13, 2014, the traditional gold-leafed statue of the angel Moroni was installed atop the spire of the Córdoba Argentina Temple. Work continues on two housing facilities being constructed alongside the temple. These new buildings will join the existing mission home and office on site.

Santidad al Señor * La Casa del Señor
"Holiness to the Lord * The House of the Lord"

Meeting New Companion and Getting Settled in Rio Ceballos
August 13, 2014

Elder Gravelle & Elder Mangum

 I am in a yellow pension (loft) on a hill a mile or so above of the chapel.
The view  from the loft

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Emails from Argentina

Rio Ceballos, in the Providence of  Córdoba


How is everybody doing?  First couple days in Argentina have been crazy busy.  I didn´t think anything could be longer than the first week at the MTC, but this definitely comes close!  The flight to Buenos Aires was good, I was on an aisle and slept probably all but 2 hours of the trip.  It was good to talk to everybody for a little while before I left the States.

We spent the first night in a hotel in Cordoba city, then the next day we got to watch the temple construction and the Angel Moroni be put on top of the temple.  That was pretty sweet.  If I can figure out how to put pictures on in these old computers that are in the cyber cafe, I´ll send them to you.  My companion is Elder Gravelle, and we are in the Rio Ceballos ward.  He is from Maryland and has been on his mission for 15 months, he´s a cool guy.  Spanish is progressing quite quickly, the members here were surprised that I could understand so much, even though I don´t really talk a lot.  We only have a couple of investigators, we need to fix that.  I actually have to go on an exchange with one of the zone leaders in their area for the next day or 2, my companion is a district leader and they have to do splits with him. 

There is an amazing sister in our ward, Hermana Martinelli, who is so kind.  She is in charge of making sure we have meals (and we usually do, for lunch because that is the big meal of the day) and whenever we don´t she expects us to go to her place.  Her children and grandchildren all live with her, but are inactive, so we go over there and teach lessons to them.  I have met just about everybody in the ward, there are about 100 active members, and a lot of less actives (menos activos) that I have already met and visited.  The days are long, and it is hot already and it is supposed to be winter!  I´m always tired, but I think it is a good tired.  For church they have sacrament last.  This week I helped teach the youth Sunday School class about Celestial marriage.  I didn´t do too bad seeing as I only have about 4 real days in Argentina under my belt.  I live in an apartment with another set of elders, Elder Perez from Nicaragua and Elder Richardson from Vegas.  3 gringos in the apartment, and none from Utah, the members call that a milagro.  Today for Pday we all met up as a zone and played sports and ate together, that isn´t typical of a pday here though.  The mission president is awesome, he lets us watch movies, we watched Frozen in Spanish this morning.  I think it helps with the language, because I was definitely recognizing words and translating in my head.  All is well here, already have had some of the best steak in the world, delicious.  The gift of tongues is real, no doubt about that.  Hope everybody is doing well, love you all!

Elder Mangum


I am in the mountains! Not what I expected at all.  Walking for hours a day, I will definitely not gain any weight in this area!  I can understand about 80 percent of what is said when I concentrate, so that is good.  It is not cold at all, it is HOT!  Surprisingly, usually in the 80s during the day, then down in the 50s at night.  My apartment is tiny, 4 elders.  A sister in the ward washes our clothes for us though. We live at the top of a hill, so it is always SO much fun climbing at the end of the day!  Lots of wild animals, dogs EVERYWHERE.  I sent another email with a lot of information, but I have not taught a lesson in a house, only on the street.  We can do the Restoration really quickly, and we have done that a couple of times.  We may have a baptism of a 9 year old boy this Saturday, we will see what happens!  My schedule is wake up at 6:30 and get ready for the day, study from 8-11, then work for a couple hours, have lunch at a members home, then work til 9 or 9:30.  Long and hard days, but I enjoy it.  The most unexpected thing has been the mountains, the most enjoyable has been getting to know the members.  

I miss everybody a ton, but hopefully this ward will become like family in the next couple of months for me.  Tell Jake that he will learn a ton from that teacher, she may be strict but she has been there for a while and knows her stuff! Tell Luke that kindergarten will be a blast, and that new teachers are always fun and will try to make everything exciting for him. 

Give everybody my love.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Highlights from August 4, 2014 Letter

Mom and Dad,

Getting travel plans was definitely exciting, we weren't sure if we were going to Argentina or getting reassigned, nobody had told us anything about the visas....It is kind of surreal that this is the last week in the MTC, I'm already basically a transfer in.  If time is going this quickly already, I can only imagine how it flies out in the field.  Sunday the new President of BYU spoke, and we said goodbye to the district who had been here since the week before we got here.  After spending the past 5 weeks together, we got pretty close with some of them as well, more than I would have expected.  

My companion and I were in charge of teaching a lesson on repentance during district meeting on Sunday (in English).  It went well, I based my comments off of Elder Christofferson's talk "The Divine Gift of Repentance".  Something that really stuck out was just how much God loves us, he gives us chance after chance to repent, there is no "point of no return".  Also, how Christ is with us every step of the way.  I made the analogy, it's like pushing a handcart across the plains.  It's not you just pushing until Wyoming and then He steps in when you collapse and takes you to Utah.  You're pushing, side by side.  He provides the help to strengthen you to make it all the way there.  It was a good district meeting.

I am glad to hear everybody at home is doing well. Prayers keep getting longer and longer for me, definitely was weird last night to look up and see that it was almost 11.  There's a lot to be grateful for, and a lot of people that I'm just grateful for that helped mold me into who I am today.

By the time you get this, I'll be mostly packed for Argentina.  The  MTC was fun, but play time is over.  Time to start the real work.  And have fun doing it, of course.  Can't forget that.

Food for thought - Mosiah 2:41.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Email from Mission President

Dear Parents,

            We are pleased to inform you that your son has arrived to the Argentina Córdoba Mission perfectly well.  We received him in the airport and we came directly to the mission home where we had a welcome meeting and a traditional dinner for this area.  They will spend this night in a nice hotel and that is close to our home.  Tomorrow he will meet his companion and they will go to their area together. 

We are extremely grateful to receive a noble spirit like your son who is so consecrated to the Lord.  Thank you very much for all that you have done to prepare him.  We will take care of your son as if he were our own child.

            President & Sister Alliaud

Las Oficinas de la Misión

Monday, August 11, 2014

Phoning Home

Michael was able to call home from the airport on the way to Argentina.  It was so great to hear his voice.  Everyone was excited to have their own conversations with him, filling him on what was going on with their lives and asking him lots of questions.  

Michael said there were close to 100 missionaries traveling together to Argentina.  Once they got to Buenos Aires, they would be eating breakfast at the Argentina MTC and then they would go to their separate missions.  16 missionaries would be going on to Córdoba.  Michael was not sure if they would be taking a bus to Córdoba or a plane, he said he had been told it was about an 8 hour bus ride.  Once they arrive in Córdoba, they would go to the mission home and have an orientation before heading to their assigned areas with their new companions.  Elder Mangum was very excited to be on his way!  

God Answers Prayers, even the small ones

Craziest thing just happened.  We were at dinner over at Brigham's Landing at this burger place, the one benefit of being on West Campus because we can go eat there in the "real world"  on our P-days, and guess who I run into?  The only person I know in Provo, good ole Parker Long. I had been praying to run into him, if for no other reason than to say hey and talk to him about the mission.  

Prayers are amazing things, God definitely hears them.  I know you probably think its weird that I was praying for something like that, but I never really got to talk to him before I left, and it was awesome to run into him.  Crazy too, out of all the places in Provo to come eat, he goes to the one place I actually am allowed to go to.  Some would say a coincidence.  I don't believe in coincidence, it was divine intervention.  Just thought I'd share that experience, definitely the highlight of the week.

Elder Michael Mangum

Sunday, August 10, 2014

MTC Email Week 6

Elder Mangum and Elder Lawrence

Friends, family, and everybody in between,

This week went by far the fastest out of all of them so far.  The highlight of the week was getting my Spanish Speaking Assessment, got a 6.5 out of 7, basically fluent, at least for a gringo after 6 weeks in the MTC.  We'll see just how true that is once we get to Argentina.  I got all of the packages, except the one with the pictures.  You should be getting that one back next week, because they return all of the mail they get for people who have already left the MTC.  This week we studied the Subjunctive Tense in Spanish, definitely the hardest thing in Spanish to comprehend.  We had our last classes with all of our teachers.  In Field Orientation was yesterday, where it was basically a 9 hour seminar on how to find people and the value of members and how to work with them.  We had a former general authority speak on Tuesday, Elder Hafen, and he talked about being a missionary, not just serving a mission. Elder Lawrence and I had the opportunity to teach District Meeting on Sunday on repentance, it was a very good lesson.  We went to the temple today and did our last session in English for the next 2 years.  Haven't really started packing yet, probably need to get on that this afternoon.  We had a "pre p-day party' yesterday, mainly just trying to get rid of all the extra food we have to the other districts in the zone.  

Answers to the fam’s questions:
Packing so far has been nonexistent; I sure hope I can fit everything in the suitcases!  We have 2 devotionals every week, one on Sunday and one on Tuesday.  Elders do take turns doing the sacrament, and the bread is provided by the MTC.  My favorite Pokemon..that's a difficult one.  Probably Charizard, me and him have always been close.  Favorite scripture story is the conversion of Alma the Younger.  My favorite thing I ate this week was a burger, corn dogs and fries, and cheese ravioli, all for lunch yesterday.  I was kind of hungry.  The funniest thing that happened this week would have to be that we all took our mattresses and put them in the front room, all 10 of us, and are sleeping there til we leave.  I actually claimed the couch, so I think I got the best spot in the house.  The happiest I felt this week was definitely when I woke up this morning and knew it was P-day, and knew I got to go to the temple and email my friends and family.  I literally was singing the song "Happy."  

I have a 5 hour layover in Atlanta, and we have permission to call home while in the airport, so expect a phone call from yours truly on Monday afternoon.  


Elder Mangum

Pre-P Day Party

Elder Rigby and Elder Mangum

Michael and one of his favorite MTC instructors

The District 

And for your viewing pleasure, so we can all be Happy like Michael - 
A fun "Happy" Melody of Songs by Santino Fontana & the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, including fun shout out to "Happy" by Pharell Williams @ 4:55.  Who knew the Mo Tab were so Happy! 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Travel Plans - MTC Email Week 5

Family and friends,

Everything is going well.  I am Argentina bound, no Visa waiting.  I fly out of Salt Lake at 11 AM on the 11th, then have a 5 hour layover in Atlanta, then fly through the night and arrive at Buenos Aires at about 8 in the morning on the 12th.  My entire district is on the same flight, both to Atlanta and to Buenos Aires.  We're not sure what happens after we arrive in Argentina, if we then take a smaller plane to our missions or ride the bus all day to get there.  This week flew, I already sent a handwritten letter talking about most of it, but a few of the highlights include one of our Branch Presidency members getting released and then replaced by somebody who just finished being a mission president in the Philippines about a month ago. Our Tuesday devotional was given by a former general authority (John Groberg), he was the Elder from "The Other Side of Heaven" and had some really cool stories.  He focused on the many different ways we share our testimony.  Whether it be through what we do, say, sing, pray, or who we are, we can express testimony.  

I only have 8 full more days in the MTC before I'm off to Argentina, it’s crazy how fast time has flown by.  This past week we were part of a pilot problem, although to be honest it wasn't much different than what we already do. Tomorrow is the 2nd Fast Sunday of the mission, only 22 more!  

In regards to the questions from the family:

My favorite dessert has been a chocolate and toffee cake.  The best thing that happened this week was that we got our travel plans.  My favorite hymn in English is "How Great Thou Art" and my favorite hymn in Spanish has been "God Be With You Till We Meet Again".  We sing it every time a district in our zone leaves.  We will sing it tomorrow for the group that is a week ahead of us, then it will be our turn to be sung to.  I have not learned more about singing, but I am probably better than I was a month ago.  The most challenging thing about being a missionary so far has been sticking with a companion, I enjoy my alone time, which is nonexistent here.  The most surprising thing at the MTC so far has been how nice everybody is, everybody likes to say hello, which is not something I am used to, or ever did myself. The most interesting person I have met so far is definitely Bob Monson.  He is in our branch presidency, and is the nephew of President Monson.  He has all sorts of cool stories, and can definitely hold everybody's attention.  

Thanks for all the letters and packages!  Everybody loves Mom's homemade cookies, and the Texas Jalapeno crackers!  Hope everybody is doing well.

Elder Michael Mangum