Monday, July 27, 2015

Dana's Baptism

Hey fam,

It was another good week.  We did a lot of role plays in our studies, practicing the lessons, and it is amazing to see how much more comfortable and familiar my companion has gotten with the language as we do these practices.  This week we focused a lot on "How to Begin Teaching" and teaching the Restoration in our studies. This week we were able to teach Santiago again, this time about the Plan of Salvation, however it was obvious to see that he was more interested in developing friendships with foreigners than actually learning about the gospel.

I also had the opportunity this week to do a baptismal interview of a little girl named Dana Baca.  Her family had been less active but since I got here they have been coming almost every week. It was a really neat experience to be able to interview and talk with her about baptism and the promise she was going to be making with our Heavenly Father.  I ended up conducting the baptismal service yesterday, and my companion got to baptize her.  Less than 2 full weeks in the field and he is already baptizing!  I have pictures, but the computers this week don’t have anywhere for me to hook up the camera, so I will send them next weekWe have another baptism this weekend, of Gonzalo, on Saturday.  We are pretty excited, it sounds like just about the whole ward will be coming out for it.  

This week we gave several lessons to less actives on the importance of the family (we are making a big emphasis on that now, especially with the temple being practically next door and all of the possible blessings that these families could have).  We also talk a family on the importance of prayer, and the different ways that God answers our prayers.  We read Ether, chapters 1-3 and talked about the different kinds of answers that the Brother of Jared got.  It really is amazing to think just how much our Father in Heaven loves us, and how willing he is to always answer our prayers, and how His way to answer them is always better than our way.  

Crazy that Hayley is now a TEENAGER.  13 years old, hard to believe. Sounds like she had a great birthday! 

Answers to your questions - My comp and I are doing well, no more sicknesses.  This week we also had a period of 30 minutes where we found 3 different families to teach. Unfortunately, only one of them was able to be there when we went back for the second appointment.  I am eating more, but I am still as skinny as a toothpick.  We don’t normally go on splits, but tomorrow one of the youth is going to come work with us all day.  The youth are pretty cool, they all love soccer, so sometimes we play with them.  What I like best about my area is that I don’t see the same people every day, the opposite of my last area.  

Love you all,

Elder Mangum

Pray Always!

Monday, July 20, 2015


Elder Mangum and Elder Lakey

Hey fam,

The week was good.  Monday and Tuesday I was with my buddy Elder Nelson and we worked really hard, and got matching haircuts from Alberto Pelegri.  On Wednesday we headed up to Corboda and got our "kids" (our greenies).  Mine is Elder Lakey, from Ogden, Utah.  He is 19, just got done with his first year at the University of Utah.  He is 6´4, I am sure we are quite the sight to see here in the streets of Carlos Paz.  We got back to our area on Wednesday night, and on Thursday I got him right to work!

As part of training, we get an extra hour of comp study to focus on the basic doctrines that we will have to teach to everybody.  I don’t know if this means I am a good trainer or bad trainer, but I talk to him 24/7 in Spanish, which he is really picking up fast.  Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, we entered a house knocking doors very day and taught the restoration.  

I love having a greenie comp, he reminds of some of the basic things that have started to slip my mind as I have become one of the older folks in the mission.  Things like stopping in the middle of the street and praying to be able to find and teach somebody that lives in that street.  We did that 3 times, and all 3 times within 90 seconds we were in a house teaching lesson 1.  I love it.  

We have a new investigator named Santiago.  He plays trumpet and piano (so does my new comp.  Coincidence?  I think not!)  We have left a couple of pamphlets with him and talked about the Book of Mormon and Plan of Salvation.  We have an appointment with him on Tuesday, which I am really looking forward to.  Friday night we had a FHE with the 1st counselor in the bishopric, Familia Spitale, and a part member family, Familia Sosa.  We taught about how the gospel blesses families, and the spirit was there so strong that all of the adults there were in tears.  Hermano Sosa has been less active for years, but when I asked him if he remembered a time when he was a kid that the gospel blessed his family, and he could barely talk for the emotion that he was feeling.  It went really well.  

Sunday was really good as well. I blessed the sacrament again, but didn't have to teach any classes this week.  After church, we had lunch with the mother in law of the Bishop and all of their family, where she dumped a glass of orange juice all over my suit, white shirt, and pants.  We all laughed it off and proceeded to eat the tacos, it was pretty funny.  In the evening we had another FHE, this time with Familia Moreno, whose son turns 12 tomorrow and his father passed away years ago, so his mother asked us to come and teach about the priesthood.  Once again, an incredibly spiritual experience.  A very basic lesson using D&C 20 and D&C 84, but another experience I will never forget.  

Today was Pday de Zona here in Carlos Paz, which is why I am emailing so late.  However, my comp started to throw up at 2 am, but he started feeling better about mid day so we were able to go to the chapel and play soccer and hang out with everybody.  All in all, a great week, and I am praying for an even better one this week!

Gonzalo is still in Dallas, he has a baptismal date for August 1st.  Life is good here, looking forward to this week, I may do my first baptismal interview for somebody that the sisters here are teachingThe biggest challenge this week has been teaching a ton, which is a good challenge to have!  And the fact that my comp, while speaking very good for a greenie, still can really only testify so I need to teach the basic points in the lessons.  If you could pray for Santiago, Gabriela, and Gonzalo, that would be great.  My favorite food here in the area has been empanadas, we eat them all the time. The apartment is still freezing cold.  As far as teaching about the Sabbath Day, it is always good to read in 3 Nephi when Christ institutes the sacrament in the Americas.  
Love you all!

Elder Mangum  

The Gospel of Jesus Christ Blesses Families

Monday, July 13, 2015

Transfers and a Greenie

The Zone in La Rioja, May 2015

Hey fam,

Another transfer come and gone.  And a new companion...a greenie fresh from the MTC!  I am going to train here in Carlos Paz!  I will find out who my comp is and pick him up from the mission home on Wednesday.  I am looking forward to training, there is a 99% chance that it is somebody from the states that doesn’t really speak the language, so that will be a fun adjustment after 9 straight months living with Latinos and only speaking Spanish. 

This week, we had the biggest miracle of my mission happen. We got a call on Wednesday night from the Bishop, who told us that the husband of the primary president, Gonzalo Orozco, who isn't a member, has been coming to church for the past 6 years, and this week he finally made the decision to get baptized.  He has had dozens of missionaries pass through his house trying to teach him, and he made up his mind with us to get baptized.  He is a computer engineer for HP, and actually travels to Dallas for 10 days starting tomorrow.  When he gets back, he will be going for a little swim!  He is really excited, I asked him what changed and he told me that he finally "read the book and prayed about it." He prayed 32 times, and got 3 answers, so he can’t deny that it is true.  It was a really good way to end the transfer, it definitely gave my comp some encouragement after his nearly 3 months here without any visible success. 

Other than that, a pretty normal week, we had a ward activity on July 9th where we watched Meet the Mormons, which was really good, ate a ton of food, and played some soccer.  We had a really good turnout, probably 60 people or so, a lot better than the last activity we had, so we can see that the things here in the ward are improving.  Church was good, I didn’t have to teach or anything, so it was good just to sit back and be a participant in the class instead of the maestro.  We talked a lot about Temples, and the power of them, Chapter 13 in the Teachings of President Benson.  Definitely made me grateful that I have the opportunity now to go to the temple once a transfer and participate in the blessings there.

My district is now me, the greenie, Hermana Carrasco from Peru, and Hermana Morris from California.  Carrasco ends her mission this next transfer, and I am not sure how much time Sister Morris has left.  Until Wednesday I am with Elder Nelson, one of my buddies from the MTC who is going to train as well, and we are going to be working here in Carlos Paz.  In the zone there are 24 missionaries I think.  We do have a cell phone here.  It’s getting colder, and today it was supposed to snow, but it didn't quite get cold enough.  Lots of rain though.  

Sounds like y’all had a good, busy week.  Glad to hear that everybody is doing well and enjoying the summer.  I loved the pictures of the baby blessing and the beach!  

Love you all!  Have a great week!

Elder Mangum

The Book that Gonzalo Orozco read
For a free copy, click here

One of our families favorite songs:
"Glorious" by David Archuletta from 
Meet the Mormons Movie

Monday, July 6, 2015

1 Year!

Hey fam,

It was a good week.  We didn't do anything to celebrate the 4th, unfortunately.  Not even a trip to the McDonalds that is in my area. I didn’t burn a shirt either for hitting my one year mark, but a couple of other missionaries in my age group did. We had interviews with President this Wednesday, as well as with the assistants to the president.  It went well, President and I chatted a little bit about the temple and the Atonement, laws of justice and mercy.  We are able to go the temple once a transfer, on Tuesdays or Thursdays, if we live within the province of Córdoba. That was pretty good news to get!  People had been saying that maybe we would only be able to go once a year, but once a transfer is definitely something I will be taking advantage of!  Friday we also had a zone conference, topic being obedience and the power it gives us when we obey even the simple rules that don’t seem like a big deal.  

Saturday there was a home teaching activity, and we did divisions with some of the members as they did their visits for the month.  My comp went with the Bishop, and I went with 2 members of the Elder’s Quorum.  The person we went to visit wasn’t there, but the message we were supposed to is from the July Liahona, "Oh esta todo bien" (All is well in English). After our unsuccessful attempt to do the visit, we went back to the church and had chori pan.  Sausage on a bun. Delicious.  

Sunday we had a few of the less actives show up, but not as many as we would have liked.  But in ward council we were given a list of 15 families to visit throughout the course of the week, which is awesome.  I was asked at 11:28 to teach the Young Men lesson that began at 11:30.  Topic being "How can I make the sacrament more meaningful for others?"  I was also asked to share a few thoughts regarding the importance of serving a mission.  I opened up the lesson reading the scripture D&C 84:20, which puts things into pretty clear perspective regarding the importance of the ordinance of the sacrament.  We then had a discussion on what the ward was doing well, and what the young men needed to improve in order to make the sacrament a more spiritual experience.  Then we read 3 Nephi 18:1-11, Jesus instituting the sacrament in the Americas.  We talked about the importance of "being filled" by the sacrament, even though it is just a little piece of bread and cup of water that physically isn’t going to fill us, but spiritually it will.  Then I shared my thoughts on the importance of serving a mission, using Alma 29:8-10, and talking about the Atonement and the love our Father in Heaven and our Elder Brother have for us.  With all that Christ suffered for us, and we are asked to serve 2 years which in comparison with eternities and eternities, is nothing.  The bishop and the Stake YM President were crying by the end, so I think the class went well despite the lack of preparation. 

This week is the last week of the transfer.  We have planned to visit the 15 families that the ward council gave us, of which include several in which not all of the members of the family are members of the church.  Our mission President promised that if we work "bajo las llaves" of the leadership in the ward, we will find and baptize along the way.  The 9th we have a ward activity, from 10am until 5pm.  All day long, food and music and we are going to watch "Conozca los Mormones."  Meet the Mormons, but in Spanish.  I am looking forward to it.  The teaching opportunities are progressing, poco a poco. 

The most interesting person I have met in the area would have to be Alberto, a less active who was deep in the gang and drug life back in Rosario, but moved here 2 years ago and is trying to get his life back together.  He told me his story the other day of how his life used to be...pretty crazy stuff.  He is tatted up and has piercings all over, but really has a good heart, and always offers lunches for us.  His wife is a recent convert as well, we work quite a bit with that family.  

P-days, with the cold, we don’t do much.  Exercise time, with the temperatures being below 0 and pitch black at 6:30 in the morning, I settle for a couple of push ups and a couple of sit ups inside the pension.  Thanks for the updates on what is going on in the world, I had heard that President Packer passed away, like you said, sad but not unexpected.  

Love you all!  Have a good birthday week Mom!  And Aunt Jen too!

Elder Mangum