Tuesday, September 23, 2014

1st Set of Transfers

Hermana Martinelli's 25th Anniversary of Baptism


This week was really good. Tuesday was highlighted by the addition of a washing machine to the pension, which was completely unexpected, but they are trying to get all of the pensions to have the same items and utilities. Wednesday we had lunch with Hermana Martinelli, it was her 25th anniversary of being baptized.  I also participated in giving another couple of blessings, it is really cool to see the faith of people in the power of the priesthood. Thursday was really good, we had the Word of Wisdom lesson with Alejandra, and brought a convert who had struggled with some of the same things that she is struggling with. She committed to stop smoking and to live the commandment. We also contacted a reference, Familia Heredia, taught them the Restoration and placed a tentative baptismal date of the 11th of October.  Friday morning my companion and I did service for the 75 year old counselor to the Bishop who is slowly dying, we just moved some stuff in his backyard and listened to him talk and tell stories, and show us pictures from 30 years ago.  He really appreciated it, and I enjoyed it as well. 

We visited a less active family, Familia Olmos, and had a really powerful lesson there. The 17 year old daughter is completely inactive, she had a baby a year ago that passed away right after childbirth, and is struggling to understand why God would take her son away from her like that. We explained the Plan of Salvation, and asked her what she thought God felt when He had to watch His firstborn son, Jesus Christ, be tortured and killed for the salvation of all of the rest of His children.  By the end of the lesson the whole family was practically in tears, the Spirit that was felt in that house that evening was incredibly strong.

That same night, Friday, we came home to find that our electricity and power had been cut off. The mission office had forgotten to pay the electric bill.  As of right now, we are still without electricity.  No electricity means no water heater either. We do have a gas stove though, so in order to shower we would heat up water in a bucket, then take cups full of the hot water and dump it on top of our heads over and over. Little bit different than back home!  

On Sunday Alejandra came to church for the 3rd week in a row, we could very easily be having a baptism for her very soon if she can stop smoking.  This morning we said goodbye to Elder Perez, the elder from Nicaragua whose English vocabulary is limited to the words of the songs in the movie Frozen, he’s now finished his 2 years in the mission and is headed home. We have a new Elder know, Elder Knutzen from Utah. 4 gringos in one apartment, that’s not normal.  Elder Perez said this morning "Me siento mal. Estoy triste."- I feel bad. I’m sad.  His mission is over, that must be a really weird feeling.  My first transfer in the field is over, we found out Saturday night who stayed and who left the area. I have the same companion, this next transfer should be a good one.

Q&A - I don’t drink a ton of soda here, but when I do it is almost always Coca Cola, the Argentines love coke. I haven’t learned to cook anything new at all, and we MIGHT have a baptism Saturday if Alejandra can not smoke a cigarette all week.  We will get General Conference live in our building, which will be in Spanish of course.  We’ll play sports with the locals as well as the missionaries.  Scriptures we used this week...Body is a Temple.  There are several scriptures in Corinthians about that, I invite you all to search them out for yourself- :)

Glad to hear that everybody is doing well.  Love you all!

Elder Mangum

Monday, September 15, 2014

Busy Week

Awesome service project!

Dear fam,

This week passed by in a blur.  Monday was P-day, and we has the whole zone come down and pay soccer and football in Rio Ceballos, then had a "splash" which means that everybody in the zone contacted and tracted for a couple of hours in Rio Ceballos to help us out.  Then I headed to Arguello with Elder Perez, and spoke only Spanish for the next 36 hours. Arguello was way different, they have a washing machine and a blender in their apartment, and AC!  We don’t.  No mountains there either, it is literally just a neighborhood, set up in a grid system, totally the opposite of my area. This week was full of giving blessings, pretty sure I assisted with 3 or 4, and also went out with the Bishop and gave the sacrament to a number of people.  We have 4 baptismal dates, 2 for the 26th of September and 2 for the 27th.  We’ll see who actually arrives, 3 of the 4 are either children or grandchildren of part-member families.  In Arguello, I ate 6 milanessas (steaks) in about 4 hours.  I am definitely putting on some weight!  This week was really good though, crazy that we are 5 weeks done with the transfer already!

Today was Day of the Virgin Mary for the Catholics, they had a parade. Also I got to do service on Saturday, I helped paint a school.  Got to do the basketball hoops, definitely one of the highlights of the week.

Answers to your questions - The most interesting food I ate this week was rice and pollo, pretty normal food here.  My Spanish speaking companion was from Peru.  I understand about 95% of the Spanish anybody speaks, so there were no communication issues.  I didn´t teach at church, and today for Pday everybody came to Rio Ceballos again to play basketball and soccer, because we have the best court and field.  I played basketball for like 4 hours today, it was a blast. There are probably 20 youth in the ward that are active.  My favorite Article of Faith is the 4th one, because that it my purpose as a missionary, to help others come unto Christ by exercising the principles taught in the 4th Article of Faith.  We use pass along cards, and especially the ‘I am a Mormon cards’. We don’t sing a ton, although we did this week when we were teaching the grandchildren of Hermana Cabrera who want to be baptized. We sang I am a Child of God in Spanish.

I am glad to hear everybody is doing well!  Love you all!

Elder Mangum

Parade for the Day of the Virgin Mary

Monday, September 8, 2014



This week was pretty good.  Started off by going bowling last Monday in Cordoba Capital, the city.  That was a blast, and we walked around downtown for a while, definitely one of the areas I would like to serve in, unfortunately it is the sister's area, so I doubt I will get the chance.  The best part of Tuesday was the dinner, we went to Familia Keller´s house they are about 25 and have a 6 month old baby, and are probably the most similar to gringos that I have met here.  Dinner was pancakes and hamburgers, and Root Beer! First time my companion has had root beer in the past 16 months, definitely not something that is common here.  Wednesday we had a district meeting, but the whole zone met together afterwards because our mission is part of a pilot program for New/Different/Not so New or Different Key Indicators. Friday we went out with the Ward Mission Leader for the first time.  It was good to get to know him better, he is a taxi driver and works from about 4AM to anywhere between 6 and 10PM every day except Sunday.  

Sunday was the first time an investigator that I taught and actually helped showed up to church.  Her name is Alejandra, she is about 45, and her mother is a recent convert.  Both struggle with the word of wisdom, we'll have to work pretty hard on that.  After church, my companion and I went out with the Stake President, who is a member of our ward, and visited 3 of the families in the ward who have almost nothing.  A member of the ward went with us and pulled us aside afterwards and said: This is what the church is all about. Visiting the elderly, the poor, and the sick.  This is why you were called here. It was really neat, and true.  Reminded me of two passages of scripture, Matthew 25:31-40, and James 1:27.  We do a lot of that on the mission.

Nugget from the Book of Mormon for the week: 2nd Nephi 2:27.  With reasoning like that, not much of a discussion about which is better or what somebody ought to choose.  Also, this week I read Our Search for Happiness by Elder Ballard, and Our Heritage, both from the missionary reference library. Quick reads, but excellent books, learned quite a bit.  From tonight through Wednesday, the zone is doing Intercambois Cruzadas, which means everybody is on an exchange with somebody else.  I am headed to Arguello, with an Elder that only speaks Spanish.  Should be an experience, looking forward to it!

Family Q&A's - I got my mission debit card, so money is good now.  Favorite legendary Pokémon would have to be Articuno.  My apartment is like a normal house, I sleep in a top bunk just like at home which makes it easier to fall asleep. Everybody has dogs as pets, and some are nice.  We play soccer on Pdays, and a little basketball every once in a while.  We buy groceries from a grocery store called Valig.  Best part of the day is studying.  Worst is climbing up the mountain to get to the pension.  A scripture I used this week was Helaman 5:12, with an elderly lady who we brought the sacrament to yesterday.  Glad everybody is doing well!


Elder Mangum

Monday, September 1, 2014

2 Months!

Friends and Family,

Tomorrow marks 2 months in the mission.  It definitely hasn't felt like 2 months!  Time is flying by.  This week especially, it seems like just yesterday that I was typing up an email to everybody.  This week was really good, a few highlights include-

Monday we had FHE at a less active's home (Familia Funes), they invited their neighbors and a bunch of members from the ward, over 20 people!  We had lots of food and karaoke, then us missionaries taught the Restoration and the members all shared their testimonies of Joseph Smith.  It was really neat, and the neighbors are interested in coming to church and taking the lessons! This week we spent a lot of time trying to find less actives, we were given a list of 15 to find, and a grand total of 2 still lived in the addresses they gave us.  It was good though, we found a few potential investigators through doing it.  

Wednesday was my first Zone Conference, the theme was references and to remember to always ask for them.  We had to wake up at 4 in the morning to travel into the city for the conference.  It was a lot of fun though, got to meet a lot of new missionaries and see one of my fellow greenies.  Thursday was my first service project of the mission, which was washing the Bishop´s car. Doesn't really seem like much, but he really appreciated it.  Also had a really good lesson with a less active, Andrea Torres, who works on Sunday, has 3 kids, and her husband is not a member.  One of the first times where I took the lead in the lesson and I told the story about making the decision not to play basketball on Sundays because it is the Lord's day, even though my team had games and tournaments practically every Sunday.  I was afraid my coaches or teammates would be upset or angry, but everybody understood, and the 80 year old coach admired and appreciated it.  Told the whole story in Spanish, and also invited her nonmember husband to take the kids to church because they all really wanted to go.  Heck, the 7 year old daughter drew a picture of her eating the fruit of the tree of life during our lesson on it.  That was a neat day.

Saturday we took a recent convert out with us to visit less actives and investigators for the entire day, which was really good.  They were able to share experiences and stories with the investigators that neither my companion nor I would have been able to share.  Sunday was the best meal I have ever had here, fried chicken and french fries, all homemade. Fantastic, reminded me of home. 

This week was really good, and we are halfway done with the transfer already. Time is definitely flying by! Hope everybody is doing well at home.
Love you all.

Elder Mangum

- Sorry I can´t send pictures this week, I'm on an older computer that doesn't accept the SD card.  Love you all!