Monday, June 29, 2015

Moving and Teaching

Keeping Warm 

Hey fam,

The week was pretty similar to the last one.  Nothing too crazy happened, except we moved from one department to the one next door.  It turns out that the plumbing under the shower was broken, and we were flooding underneath our house because the pipes were busted.  So we spent all of this morning moving next door.  It is the second time in 2 months that I have been involved in helping missionaries move. We have been working a lot with less actives this week, and the two families we have been focusing on, Familia Lujan and Familia Villareal, ended up coming to church yesterday, so we were able to see a little of the fruits of our labors during the week. 

We also found a man, named Adolfo, who expressed interest and we taught him about modern day prophets in the street, and he wants us to come to his house and teach him more. That is the only "investigator" we have, mainly we are working with the ward council and visiting less/inactives.  We have ward council every Sunday morning (apparently the Area Presidency has requested that we do that instead of twice a month).  It is cool to be in a functioning ward with all of the auxiliaries and people that want to work.  We also passed around the calendar for lunches for the month of July in the Relief Society, and we have lunch every single day minus Pdays, I count that as a miracle!  

I haven't really had anything weird to eat here so far.  Yesterday I had a black Brazilian stew, which looked kind of funky but was delicious.  I have been studying D&C, sections 110-120 this week, and the first couple of chapters in Jesus the Christ. Exchanges with the Zone Leaders are only once a transfer.  The other missionaries (the sisters) in my district work well. The whole area is pretty much the same, lots of first lessons but it’s hard to get the second one. No holidays here recently, the next one is July 9th, their independence day here in Argentina.  Life is good, and the new apartment is better than the last one, so I can’t complain too much.  

Sounds like y’all had a fun week, I would have liked to have been at the farewell for the Ashtons.  Sounds like a really good time, and you got to see a lot of our old buddies.  Tell everybody up in Dallas hi for me, and I hope you all have a great week and 4th of July!  It will be the only one I spend outside of the states, but I may throw on the Star Spangled Banner in our apartment on Saturday.  

Love you all!

Elder Mangum

Monday, June 22, 2015


Hey fam,

Halfway done with the transfer here in Carlos Paz.  Another solid week, nothing too exciting.  We did commit 2 families to come to church, but when Sunday rolled around...nada.  But its all good, the work keeps moving forward.  The life here now seems pretty normal, we are in a good routine.  Waking up in the freezing cold at 6:30, and taking an almost-freezing cold shower, heating up milk and throwing in Nesquik to have some hot chocolate, and then getting on with the day.  There is definitely no sleeping during studies, a little too cold for that!  

Wednesday we had intercambios, and I worked with one of the Zone Leaders, Elder Hardy from Utah.  I always enjoy doing exchanges and being with other missionaries, because I always learn something new and find ways that I can improve.  It seems that every week in the mission is passing faster than the last one. Friday we had a Ward FHE, which a grand total of 20 people showed up to.  All youth and young adults, the only family in the ward that showed up was the family who had the lesson.  But at least it was an activity, the first one here in several months, so progress is progress.  

Sunday was really good.  A couple of solid talks (one of the speakers said "what a shame that we are so few here in sacrament meeting, we really need to work harder and go rescue our brothers and sisters."  Sometimes you just have to say it like it is!)  A solid lesson in priesthood, from the Teaching of Ezra Taft Benson on the importance of listening to the Spirit.  And for Sunday lunch, I had lasagna for the first time in over a year. Delicious!  All in all a good week.

Sounds like y’all had a great Father’s Day!  You all know how much I love Chicken Cordon Bleu, I am sorry I missed out..but good news is that I will probably be home for the next Father’s Day!  I have been studying a lot in D&C, as well as starting the book Jesus the Christ again this week.  Not gonna lie, I don’t have very much in the department of "warm clothes" but I’ll push through it.  This will be the only full winter here in Argentina, it’s not worth sending a package of warm clothes.  I have a couple of scarfs and beanies, as well as gloves, so I’m good!  

The first thing we teach about the gospel is who God is, our Loving Heavenly Father who wants us to be happy here on earth. Simple is good, PMG really breaks things down on a basic level.  We get fed here every day (minus Pday) so as far as lunches go we are eating well.  Glad to hear that everybody is doing well!  Sounds like a rough week of goodbyes with the Grants and Tyler, but the good thing is that with the Gospel, if we all do what we need to do, there really is no such thing as goodbye.  Only Hasta Luego!

Love you all!

Elder Mangum

Monday, June 15, 2015

Mission Life in the City

Hey fam,

The week was good. The city is good, it is a whole lot different contacting the people here than back in the country/desert. A lot more of the same as last week, contacting and trying to get references from the members here.  We are slowly but surely gaining the confidence of the members, it is a work in progress.  The bus drivers here in the province, and in the majority of the country, were on strike, so there were no buses here until Friday.  We are about an hour away from the church walking, half an hour in bus, and 10 minutes in a car.  The highlight of the week include lunches everyday with members (can you tell how grateful I am to be able to eat real food every day?!)  :)   

Another highlight of the week was zone meeting on Friday. We talked a lot about having the Spirit with us when we teach, as well as using all of the tools that we have as missionaries.  The area book, our planners, progress reports, teaching records, etc.  They really put an emphasis on leaving the area better than when we found it in regards to the pension and the records/papers we leave as a history of our time there.  

Sunday was really good.  A member, Brother Mendive, gave a really solid talk on fasting and the power a fast can have.  This week I have actually been studying the topic of fasting quite a bit.  Anytime we are willing to make a sacrifice for a specific cause, we really show our love for that cause and/or person.  President Eyring gave a really good talk on fasting from this past conference, I recommend reading it. 

What I like most about the area is the amount of people that live in it.  I got really used to seeing the same couple of hundred faces back in Aimogasta, but here it’s rare that we see the same face two days in a row.  Something challenging would be the people, not really open to hearing the message.  But I am confident that this week we will find several people willing to listen, and that will actually show up for the second appointment.  We have tons of good contacts, and teach in the street and make the appointment for a couple of days later in their home, but so far nobody has been there.  That is pretty rough for us at times.  Nothing unexpected in the area so far though, pretty smooth sailing.  I am still a district leader in this area.  Having Sisters in my district is fun, they both are getting ready to finish up their mission, so they have a lot of experience and always seem to be really happy and ready to work.  

It is getting a lot colder down here now.  The houses here are made of cement blocks, and the cold comes right through the walls.  And the hot water no longer exists, it’s lukewarm because during the night it drops below freezing. 

Sounds like y’all had a good week.  Sunday is Father’s Day here as well, which is funny that it is the same as back in the states, because here in Argentina Mother’s Day is in October.  Glad to here MW2 hasn’t changed much!  Hope you all have a great week!  

Love y’all!

Elder Mangum

"Is Not This the Fast That I Have Chosen?"
President Henry B. Eyring

Monday, June 8, 2015

Life in Carlos Paz

Hey fam,

A pretty good week!  The area has no investigators, and my companion has only been here about a month, so he doesn’t really know the area either, so we went about the week as if we were whitewashing the area.  Contacts, contacts, and more contacts.  I am pretty sure I knocked more doors (well, here we clap, we don’t knock) this week than the last 6 months combined.  A good experience, we found a couple of people that have potential to progress.  

Wednesday was our district meeting, the first time I have had sisters in my district.  We discussed a talk by Elder Ballard that is about our attitude and mentality here in the mission, if we want to have success, and are willing to work for it, despite of the circumstances that we might be in, we will have success. Then we had a correlation meeting with the ward mission leader.  There are members here, and callings!  It was a little weird on Sunday, standing up and bearing my testimony in front of 120 people, I am more used to 10 or 15!  I am excited to work here, all of the auxiliaries appear to be functioning, and the members give us lunch every day! I am definitely a lot more grateful now for the little things in life.  

My companion is different, but we get along well.  We are the only Elders in the ward, and there is a companionship of sister missionaries as well, from Peru and Brazil.  I am the only gringo in Carlos Paz.   The most challenging thing has been having a lack of teaching opportunities. It will take work but it will be good.  The best thing that happened this week was having lunch every day, particularly with Familia Salgado.  The wife is from Brazil, and the husband is from Carlos Paz.  We had tacos truchos, "Fake tacos" and then helped them in their garden for an hour or so.  That was probably the highlight of the week.  And blessing the sacrament at church.  Even though they have lots of members, they still asked us to do it, which is fine by me.  I enjoy utilizing the priesthood to bless others!

Sounds like everybody had a good first week of summer.  Crazy that Ty is already heading out in a week or two, time definitely flies.  Hope everybody is doing well, you are all in my prayers!


Elder Mangum

Some Pictures from the Cultural Celebration prior to the Temple Dedication

President Uchtdorf  with Elder and Sister Christofferson

Monday, June 1, 2015

Transferred to Villa Carlos Paz

Hey fam,

It was a good last week in the area.  I did get transferred, now I am in Carlos Paz, in Cordoba.  It is a small city about 40 minutes outside of the capital, much like Rio Ceballos, but a little bigger.  My companion is Elder Alvarez from Argentina who has 7 months in the mission, and the other missionaries in my district are the Sister Training Leaders.  I did take the midnight bus ride, along with 3 other people and got to Cordoba about 6 this morning.  The new pension is good, needs to be cleaned, but the hot water works.  It is just the 2 of us, my comp and I there, but its pretty big for a 2 man pension. Definitely will be a bit of a change from last transfer! 

We didn’t end up staying any more in the hotel in Aimogasta.  I got to bathe last week with buckets of cold water (keep in mind that it is now winter here) that we filled up from the hose outside.  The week flew by, teaching people and the normal district meeting on Wednesday.

Saturday we went to the capital La Rioja to eat lunch with Familia Insua for the last time, an asado (BBQ Argentina style).  Then that night were transfers.  All of the zone together in the apartment of the senior couple, eating hamburgers and waiting for the Zone Leaders to show up with the list of transfers.  Definitely a fun night, and a good 6 months in Aimogasta where I learned a ton, from patience to how to be a better speaker and leader.  

Sunday I taught Gospel Principles, the lesson being on Faith in Jesus Christ, and we focused a lot on the little miracles in our everyday lives that come to pass thanks to our faith and trust in Him.  I gave my final talk (Talk Number 20) on the baptismal covenant, and ended my message with the last couple of verses from Moroni 10.  It’s been a good run, but I am ready for the next set of adventures this new area has to bring. 

The most unusual thing that happened this week was having all the dad of one of my converts show up to church just to say goodbye to me.  Not a member, and doesn’t want anything to do with the church, and I didn’t think we were really that close, but apparently I was mistaken.  The best thing I ate this week was the asado at the Insua’s. 

Crazy to think that another school year has come and gone.  That means I am right at that halfway point, que loco.  Congrats to Matt and Jen on the new baby boy, I am glad that everything went smoothly.  Sounds like everybody had a lot of fun helping out with the flood clean up this week, I’m sad I missed out!  Summer sounds like it will be fun, Bible and tennis camps, summer chore chart, and above all, no school!  

Hope everybody has a great week!  Love you all!  Change may not be easy, but sometimes it is necessary to help us grow and realize our full potential, and bless the lives of those around us.


Elder Mangum