Monday, April 27, 2015

District Meeting

 Watching General Conference

Hey fam,

It was a really good week.  My comp and I are getting along really well so far, and yesterday we tied the record for attendance in the branch with 23 people, 4 of which were investigators.  We found quite a few new people to teach as well.  

Wednesday I led my first district meeting, it went fairly well.  I gave a small training on finding new people to teach, then we combined with another district to do practices.  Following the district meeting, we did exchanges with the other missionaries in our district.  I worked with Elder Aranda from Spain.  During the course of the day, my comp lost the key to our pension.  Good luck finding a key in the capital of a province.  It’s like looking for a key in the whole city of Austin, worse than a needle in a haystack.  So we had to stay in La Quebrada until Friday, when we traveled back to Aimogasta and replaced all of the locks on the house and got new keys.  Gave us more time in the exchange and to grow together as a district, which is good.  We also found 6 new people to teach for them in their area in 36 hours, so it was time well spent.

Sunday I gave a talk on Backbiting and Evil Speaking.  Being in a small branch and in a small town, it is a definite problem that I have noticed in my nearly 5 months here.  I "dropped cane" as the Argentines say.  A lot of Alma 5, and Psalms 101:5.  I was tired of hearing members talk bad about other members, so I taught them how we should be, but I did it with love.  It was a really good Sunday.  This week I have planned to go on an exchange with the zone leaders on Wednesday/Thursday, then head to Córdoba to see the temple on Friday.  I also have to go to Córdoba on Monday to receive a training from the mission president, 36 hours in bus in a 72 hour span.  It will be a blast!  I am definitely looking forward to going to the temple open house, from the pictures I see it is beautiful and really a sacred place.

I can definitely tell the difference between the accents of Nicaragua, Peru, Chile, Spain, and Argentina.  Sounds like y’all had a really exciting week.  Roaches in the shower is a daily event here.  The most interesting thing that happened this week was me not getting angry or flipping out when my comp lost the key.  Guess I have come a long way in the patience department!  Still struggling with the plumbing, hopefully he will fix it today.  Absolutely 0 rain this time of year.  The people we are working with are progressing, slowly but surely.  Elisa and Emilia are 90% sure baptisms in the month of May, they both want to do it.  The grossest thing I have eaten lately...fried donkey!  Good luck finding that at the Rodeo!  

Skype in 2 weeks!  Probably be about 4 in the afternoon your time.  I won’t get to write until next Tuesday because of the training in Córdoba, but I love you all!  Have a great week!

Elder Mangum


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A New Companion

Hey fam,

It was a pretty good week.  A week of goodbyes really, as my comp and one of our zone leaders are headed home back to Peru after 2 years of service.  I ended up staying in the capital the majority of the week, so not much news on the Aimogasta front.  My new companion is Elder Reyes, a 19 year old from Chile.  He has 6 months in the mission.  I have been called as the new District Leader.  So that will be fun. 

Saturday the majority of the Zone got together at the Tanner's house, and we had hot dogs and brownies at the transfers were read out loud.  That was pretty fun, about as close to a party as I am going to get for the next year!  It was a lot of fun though.

Sunday I talked on the importance of listening the prophet's counsel, and then spoke on the temple.  The Cordoba Temple open house has already started, so we are trying to plan a trip to be able to go and see that in the next 2 weeks.  It’s expensive, but it will be worth it.  They have pictures of the inside on Mormon Newsroom, it is really cool, you can almost feel the spirit of the temple by just looking at the pictures.  

The pension is worse than last week, now the water doesn't drain in the shower, so today I will have to call a plumber and get that fixed.  13 people at church, so an improvement from last week. 

Sounds like y’all had a great week, with Luke’s birthday and the grandparents coming down to visit.  I stayed with the other Zone Leader in the capital since his comp was headed to Cordoba.  All in all, 6 people from the zone left in the bus at 1 AM this morning headed for Cordoba for transfers.  My comp got here at 6 this morning, I am running on about 3 hours of sleep.  Something I studied this week...The Infinite Atonement.  Just how deep the Atonement really is, it is quite amazing.  The most delicious thing I ate were the grilled hotdogs from Grandpa Tanner.  I have not gotten that package yet, but I will be looking forward to it.  The most interesting thing that happened this week was that the bus last night started to leave, then they had a surprise Public Transportation inspection by the government, so my old comp and everybody had to get off, and I walked up to him and said "Welcome to Peru, is this how you remember it?"  (He always bashes on Argentina and how Peru is so much better) we both got a laugh out of that.  He was definitely one of those guys who was ready to head home.  That is exciting that Moises comes home this week, I remember when he left, crazy that was 2 years ago!

Love you all!

Elder Michael Mangum

Lifting Burdens: The Atonement of Jesus Christ

What is a Temple?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Encouragement from Above

Hey fam,

The week was alright.  Still having issues with the plumbing and water pressure.  We didn’t get much done this week, we had plumbers and "experts" come Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  They were at our place the entire day, coming in and out of the pension, so we couldn’t really go anywhere.  Wednesday we were in the capital all day, so really it was a week full of trying to fix the water, and not succeeding.  There is now cold water, but 0 pressure in the hot water.  And to top it off, the owner of the house is making us pay for it all, even though it’s nothing we did and comes from her water tank and plumbing that they use for her house and ours (they are side by side).  But it’s funny how they have all the hot water and pressure they want, and we don’t have squat.  Just one of those weeks.

Sunday was either a really good day, or a really bad day, depending on your perspective of things.  We had a grand total of 3 people at church. Us 2 missionaries and one member.  A definite drop from the 20 we had been getting used to.  But it was probably the most spiritual and enlightening sacrament meeting I had ever been to. Our own, modern day, 2 Kings 6 story.

We started off the meeting singing the song "Christ the Lord is RisenToday" then "I Stand All Amazed."  My comp then gave a talk on some of the highlights of conference.  Then we sang "Onward Christian Soldiers" as the intermediate hymn.  In the 4th verse, in Spanish it says:

"Al gran Rey eterno todos honrarán;
ángeles y hombres juntos cantarán"
then the chorus.

And that translated in English is:

"Glory, laud, and honor
Unto Christ, the King.
This through countless ages
Men and angels sing."
then Onward Christian Soldiers, marching as to war...

I lead the music every Sunday, and as we sang those words, I heard the voices of angels and of men and women who have come and gone before us singing along, supporting us and telling us and encouraging us, "Onward, Christian Soldiers."  As I got up to speak, I shared what I had heard and felt with my companion and the member who was there, they were both in tears and had felt the same.  There may have only been 3 visible seats filled to the human eye, but that sacrament meeting was standing room only, a room full of angels and of men and of women, of Saints already gone, who suffered the same in the early days of the church as we suffer here in this area, and they were there supporting us in our trial.  I did not see, but I testify that I felt and heard, Angels and Men singing Glory, Laud, and Honor that day.  Won’t be a day I will be forgetting any time soon! 

It sounds like y’all had an awesome week!  Full of soccer games and feeding the missionaries.  That sounds like a really neat experience with Sister Simons and everybody at the temple, wish I could have been a part of it.  We find out about transfers this Saturday, and my comp goes home on Sunday.  So I will be getting a new companion, and will most likely be staying in the same area.  There is a possibility of me training a greenie straight from the MTC, but we will see what happens.  

Give Grandpa and Grandmommie some love for me when they come down for the weekend. Hope everybody has a great week!

Love you all,
Elder Mangum

P.S. Tell Luke a Happy Birthday for me on Thursday!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Gracias a que El Vive

Familia Ensua 

Hey fam, 

I hope everybody had a wonderful Easter and Conference Weekend!

It was a good week for us here in Aimogasta.  No baptisms, but just the opportunity watch conference was a blessing here.  The senior couple in La Rioja lent us their iPad to be able to watch conference in our area.  An investigator also lent us a laptop of his for the weekend to be able to watch it, so miraculously I was able to watch all 5 sessions in English, and my companion in Spanish.  That, my friends, is a miracle.  

I really enjoyed the talks throughout the conference, but especially Sunday morning.  Elder Holland and President Uchtdorf’s talks really hit home this Easter season for me.  The opportunity to remember Christ and his Atonement is always a special experience.  Also what stuck out was the Prophet's talk on temples and the blessings and importance of temple attendance. With the Cordoba Temple being dedicated in a month, I think that was really something that the people of Argentina needed to hear.  And the 3 new temple locations got me pretty excited too!  Although, I am sure not quite as excited as TC and Sister Grant, or Sketch! Really, I got the feeling and I know that those locations were inspired directly from God.

During the week, we had a zone meeting, that focused a lot on the Easter movement, and the "Gracias a que El Vive" video, which is the same as y’alls, just in Spanish. We got special pass along cards, as well as pass along cards for the open house of the temple.  Being in an entirely different province than the temple, we have had a bit more success with the Easter cards.  

Because He Lives

Tonight is the last night in the hotel, tomorrow we go back to the old pension, which is now nearly unrecognizable after the repairs.  They should fix the water pressure and the shower today or tomorrow, and then it’s all done!  The best thing I ate this week was a milanesa sandwich in the capital on Wednesday.  It is starting to get a little cooler down here, so that is good.  I got 2 packages this week, one from y’all and one from Grandpa and Grandmommie.  As well as a letter from the Owens and the Maplehood seminary class.  Something I learned this week, I did a lot of studying in D&C 131 and 132. The covenant of eternal marriage and the promises there.  Some really good stuff.

I am definitely grateful for Jake’s prayers!  He must have said the prayer this morning, because so far, today everything has gone right! I felt the Spirit really strongly during conference, throughout conference, but especially during the song I Know that My Reedemer Lives

Sounds like y’all have a great opportunity to talk to the youth and their parents.  I am grateful that I always went to mission prep, and seminaryScripture Mastery really help on the mission too.  I wish I had gone out with the missionaries more before though.  Other than that, it was all leaders and my parents that planted the seeds.  Plus having a solid group of friends, which is what they have, seeing as they are that group I had.  

Love you all!  Have a great week!

Elder Mangum

Stake Visitors from March 29th

Drinking Mate (pronounced Mah-teh), an Argentine custom/tradition, in the lobby of the hotel.