Monday, January 26, 2015

Transfers & a New Companion

Hey fam,

I’m still here in Aimogasta.  Elder Muñoz got transferred, and my new companion is Elder Salvatierra from Peru.  His name literally means "earth saver."  He has 21 months in the mission, and I will probably be his last companion.  Which also means I will probably be here in Aimogasta until June!  The week was good, we found some new people to teach that have potential to progress, but none of them showed up to church.  Familia Venites did show up, which is always a good thing.  We had 10 people come to sacrament meeting, including the 2 of us.  It doesn’t sound like much, but if everybody who came would have brought their families, we would have had a solid 30 or 35 there.  That is something we will stress this week.

Nobody recognized me on the radio unfortunately, but Hermano Chumbita does have a few references that we are going to contact during this week with him that have expressed interest in the church.  I gave my talk on Sunday on the principle of obedience, and tied it in with the talk from Elder Holland back in the April conference.  It went fairly well, I had a few comments about it afterwards (and when only 10 people show up, a few comments means the majority of the people there!)  

This transfer will last from today until the 8th of March, which sounds far away seeing as we are still in January, but time will fly by.  It blows my mind at how fast this last transfer went with Elder Muñoz.  Other than the week of Christmas, which was a bit of a drag, it seems to have passed in the blink of an eye.  I’m excited to work with my new comp and "salvar la tierra" of Aimogasta.  

Answers to your ?'s - We do have AC in the room where we do sacrament meeting, so we put our mattresses in there and sleep in the chapel.  We do have ice cream here, there is a chain called Grido, and sells a cone with 2 scoops for 13 pesos, or about a $1.50.  It’s nothing like Blue Bell or even Marble Slab back home, but it something to help us cool off here in the heat of La Rioja!  Popsicles I have not seen yet though.  My favorite part of the week, that is always a hard one.  I would have to say church this week, it was pretty spiritual.  The funnest thing I did this week was try out a new fruit here, I have no idea what it is called, but it’s quite...interesting.  Not quite to the point to where I can say that I like it, but it was interesting.  The grapes here all have big seeds in the middle, that was a surprise when I popped one in my mouth the other week and heard a big "CRUNCH" in between my teeth.  Luckily, nothing broke except the seed.  I have started with greetings so far in the English class.  I teach the basics that people would need if they had to go the US tomorrow.  We have a chalkboard that I use and write all the words on, so they can see and hear them.  

Glad to hear that everyone is doing well. Hope everybody has a fantastic week!

Love you all!

Elder Mangum

Monday, January 19, 2015

Teaching English Classes and Talking on the Radio

Hey Fam!

This week went well.  Familia Venites came to the English class I teach on Thursdays, as well as on Sunday, so they are doing well.  We started teaching the husband and the sister of the husband this week as well, Ramon and Patricia. They didn’t make it to church on Sunday, but they have shown considerable interest and have potential to progress.  We teach English classes every Thursday.  So far only members have been coming, but they’ve invited their friends and we hope that it will be a fountain of new investigators in the new future.  It is a cool experience, but I don’t think I will be an English teacher when I get back.  I prefer making snocones!

On Wednesday we had intercambios (exchanges) again, I was with Elder Diaz in his area.  He is a mini-missionary, so it was a different experience being the "senior companion" for a day.  Not a ton of success numbers-wise this week, but this week was more about quality than quantity.  I gave a talk on Sunday about prayer, and used a small portion of Elder Richard G. Scott’s talk from this past General Conference.  Also, it is interesting to see how the Lord answers prayers in different ways, the first 3 chapters of Ether in the Book of Mormon show 3 different ways that the Lord works to answer our prayers.  Also, I talked about the importance of family prayer, and how it has blessed my life, and I learned at a young age the importance of prayer because of it.

We also had the chance to go visit the radio station this past week here in Aimogasta and talk for a few minutes.  The man who does the afternoon "show" on Saturday’s and Sunday’s is Hermano Chumbita, and he invited us to come yesterday and see how everything works.  He had me talk a little bit in English, apparently the people here love that.  We also talked a little bit about the gospel, which is always a good thing, kind of the point that I’m here.  It was a really neat experience.

Live with Elder Mangum from Texas!

Answers to your questions - There is a plaza here in town, but it’s always completely empty.  There aren’t very many opportunities here to do community service.  My favorite grass pokemon would have to be Scyther, he’s a beast.  The best thing I ate this week was milanesas.  A scripture I shared this week, 3 Nephi 18, talking about prayer and in particular family prayer, among other things.  My comp is 22, from the capital of Nicaragua, and is the 6th of 8 children.  He’s my companion for another week, this time next Monday I could very well have a different companion.  Elder Muñoz has already been in this area for 6 months, he’s pretty convinced he is getting transferred, although he would like to stay here.  Something I am looking forward to this get an email saying that the Pats won the Superbowl would be nice.  Also I look forward to studying every day.  I started this past week (yesterday) reading the Book of Mormon again and highlighting a couple of different topics as I read, with them as my main focus.  Faith, the Atonement, Plan of Salvation, Revelation, and the testimonies of the Prophets.  It’s really given me a new perspective on just how packed the Book of Mormon is of nuggets of spiritual goodness. 

Sounds like a fun weekend!  Oh the things I would do to have a Chick Fil A milkshake...y’all are lucky!  Glad that Jake played well, he may end up being better than me when I get back!  Temple trips are always a good experience, I am definitely looking forward to the Córdoba Temple opening up and being able to do trips there.  Glad to hear that everybody is doing well!  Hope y’all have a great day off from school, and a great week!


Elder Mangum

More Pictures from the Radio Station!

Monday, January 12, 2015


Baptism of Hermana Venites

This week was a fantastic week.  It flew by, and ended yesterday with the birthday of my companion and 2 baptisms!  I finally got to break out my white pants and go for a swim, it was awesome.  We had a zone meeting on Wednesday with all of the missionaries in this province of Argentina, with a focus on finding new investigators and improving our teaching.  It was a lot of fun, there was one practice that we did where me and another missionary had to contact as many people as possible in a plaza in 3 minutes to find the "chosen/most prepared" potential investigator.  All the roles were played by other missionaries, but that was a lot of fun, it made me realize, or re-recognize (if that is a word) that with the spirit, it isn't difficult to see who is and isn't interested.  Although at the same time, everybody has potential, some just more than others.  

Elder Mangum and Elder Munoz

Baptisms this week, I know I haven't really been saying much about who we've been teaching, but it was a mother and her 15 year old daughter, the Familia Venites.  I baptized and confirmed the mother, my comp did the same for the daughter. We started teaching them the first day I got here in this area, and the progress has been slow and steady, but they arrived!  It was really a neat experience, I baptized from my knees and she was sitting down in the little mini pool we have.  It was really a special experience to help somebody make this covenant, this promise by our Heavenly Father.

Ready ready for his talk   ;0

This week I spoke in church on the sacrament, basing my talk off of the 2 given in this past general conference.  Once again I directed and presided over everything, and we had 15 people show up!  Nearly double the highest we have had since I have been here.  Didn't eat anything too strange this week, just a lot of milanesas.    We dry our clothes on a stick of wood that we put on top of 2 chairs, so I guess you could call it a clothesline of sorts. The most interesting person I have met in Aimogasta would have to be the Hermano Chumbita, the family we reactivated on Christmas day.  He sells hot dogs and chori pans for a living, as well as does a radio show and sings on the weekends.  He used to be a taxi driver, as well as many other things.  He was baptized about a year ago.  My favorite primary song would have to be either I'm trying to be like Jesus, or I Hope They Call Me on a Mission.  This week, it would be good to pray for us to be able to find new investigators with the potential to progress.

Laundry Day
Washing clothes in a bucket

It is great to hear that everybody is doing well, and that Jake has a good basketball team with a solid coach.  The coach makes a ton of difference.  I am glad that Hayley and Trev are sticking with piano, it is something that I wish I had done more of.  

Love you all!

Elder Mangum

I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus

Monday, January 5, 2015

Bienvenido 2015‏

Argentina Cordoba Mission, Dec 2014 
(M is in middle, behind seated older couples)

Hey fam,

This week flew by.  I didn't get back into my area until late on Wednesday.  I was on an intercambio (exchange) in a trio on Monday, and we did another intercambio with different missionaries on Tuesday and Wednesday.  It was awesome to not have to bathe with a bucket, but with an actual functioning shower!  Wednesday was New Years Eve, which we celebrated with the family we reactivated on Christmas.  Definitely not the same as back home, but it was a good time.

Thursday through Sunday flew by again, only half the week in our actual area but we were still able to get quite a bit of work done.  We met quite a few new people who are interested in learning more about the gospel, so this next week should be one of a lot of success.  It will also help being in the area for an entire week too.  It’s getting really hot here, but that's all the more reason to work harder.  More sacrifices and afflictions, more blessings to come down the road!  Sunday was interesting, we only had 7 people in total at church.  It ended up being just a really short testimony meeting, only my companion and I got up.  I directed the meeting, and got the sacrament first as the presiding "authority," it’s been that way every week since I got here.  The meeting lasted about 25 minutes.  Really not sure what the best thing to do to get more people to church, all we can really do as missionaries is teach and invite, the people have to make their own decisions.  

One experience that was really sweet this week happened during the exchanges on Tuesday in La Rioja Capital.  I was with an Elder Southwick, from Utah, and we went to go visit a member who hadn't been to church in a month to find out why he hadn't been showing up.  Turns out he got offended by a comment by the Stake President, nothing actually serious.  The less active told us "I'm not going to let them see the worst of me, so I am not going to go to church so that way I don't blow up in their faces and yell at them. I am done going to church, never going back there."  He's an interesting fellow, slightly dramatic.  But then I said "Well for me I would think, to let somebody get in the way of my relationship with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, that would be the worst thing somebody could do.  To have somebody who really doesn't even know me, impede me from renewing my baptismal covenants and participating in the sacrament.  I would think that would be worse than anything."  After that he said "'re right.  But still...I have to buy a bus card.  I won't make any promises for this Sunday, but the next one I will be there."  Talk about a 360 degree turnaround!  

The songs we sang on Sunday were The Lord is my Light, I Stand All Amazed, and I Know That My Redeemer Lives. Nothing too fun in the Capital, I had to ride a bike during the intercambio, I definitely prefer walking to riding a bike. Today is my first normal P-day in nearly a month, so that is definitely something to be grateful for!  I’m not really in the soccer loop here, can't say its something that interests me a whole lot, so no, I have not picked a team.  Glad to hear of the little miracles that occurred throughout the week, including finding the dog.  Guess we’re meant to keep him after all.  Letters here cost me a fortune to send, each one is 50 pesos, its better just to give me email addresses.  I love receiving letters, but I don't have the money to send very many. Glad to hear everybody enjoys the ties, it is something really special that really does tie us all together, as Luke said. ** 

Love you all!

Elder Mangum

Tied together - June 30, 2014

**Before Michael left, we got matching ties for the guys in the family that everyone would wear together on Fast Sunday (Hayley is still working on a way to make a hair bow out of some of the tie material so she will match as well!).  Each month we fast together on the 1st Sunday of the month for important things to us.  The tie is just a physical reminder that we are all "tied together" both as a family and in our fast for missionary work and Michael, no matter where we are in the world. The idea came from reading about the Sons of Mosiah in the  Book of Mormon, as they prepared to go their separate ways on their missions to the Lamanite people - "they fasted much and prayed much that the Lord would grant unto them a portion of his Spirit to go with them, and abide with them". We know that great strength, blessings and miracles happen when we unite our faith together in Jesus Christ through prayer and fasting.