Tuesday, November 25, 2014


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.


Elder Mangum

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Together Forever

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


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


Alejandra's Baptism, 2 weeks ago


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.


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!

Elder Mangum