Monday, August 31, 2015

Life in Carlos Paz

Hey fam,

Todo bien down here in Villa Carlos Paz.  This week was good, no staying home sick por lo menos. On Tuesday we set baptismal goals with a couple of investigators, but they ended up not showing up to church on Sunday so we will have to talk with them tomorrow.  Wednesday we had district meeting, we all got to know each other a little better and I gave a small training on the power and authority of our calling as missionaries. Thursday we had missionary correlation where we planned to have a Ward Talent show at the end of September, and Friday we planned with the Elders Quorum a Mother’s Day activity in October.  Definitely an improvement from when I got here, when the ward hadn’t had activities in months!  

Saturday the "Obra Misional" got to clean the chapel, so the 4 of us got to clean it all and at the end the Bishop showed up, so we had a small meeting with him.  He wants us to be a choir that he can call on in any given moment to be able to sing in sacrament meetings, or baptisms, or in any given circumstance.  We were all down for it, whatever it takes to gain his confidence!  Sunday we had an Area Broadcast via internet in our building for Stake Conference, Elder Gonzalez of the 70 spoke, Sister Marriott of the YW General Presidency, and Elders Cook and Hales of the Quorum of the 12. It went well, a couple of little hiccups on the way, we ended up doing Skype with the stake president who was in the stake center to be able to watch it. They talked a lot about the Sabbath Day and the importance of serving a mission.  They threw out a statistic that really blew my mind. In the Area South America South, of the 33,000 priesthood holding men between 18-25 that could serve a mission, less than 900 are actually serving.  They gave a good reprimand to those who aren’t yet serving, and talked quite a bit about the blessings that the mission brings, not just to our own lives, but to the lives of our families and friends, which I know from experience is true.

I am back to feeling mas o menos normal, still a little congested with a bit of a cough, but in this mission we don’t believe in excuses.  We are still feeling out the ward with the new Bishop, we had ward council for the first time with him yesterday, and we are definitely going to be quite a bit more organized.  If we want to talk about something in the meeting, we have to send it to the ward secretary via email before Wednesday, otherwise we won't be talking about it come Sunday.  

The best thing that happened this week was watching my son (greenie) set the baptismal goals with the investigators.  He looked at me like "do I do it" and I gave him the nod "Heck yeah!" and the look on his face when they accepted was priceless.  The strangest thing that happened this week was eating heart is almost becoming a weekly thing, but it is always in the same house.  I made the mistake the first time I went of saying I liked it, and since then...

Somebody interesting that I have come to know in my area is one of the Young Men named Nico.  He reminds me a lot of Andra. He was baptized a year ago, and is the only member in his family.  He comes to church every week on his own, always finding a way to show up.  The sisters are teaching his mom and sister right now, but he is definitely a cool kid.  I started reading the Book of Mormon again this week.  Today I finished 1 Nephi 14.  This week, if you all could pray for us to find new people to teach, that would be great!

I Love you all, and I Love that Blue Bell is back (I never knew that it had left...)

Elder Mangum

Monday, August 24, 2015

Temple Trip

Our District at the Cordoba Argentina Temple
Hey fam,

I didn’t get transferred, I get to finish training my son Elder Lakey here in Carlos Paz.  It was a pretty good week, ended up in bed sick for 2 days, but other than that it went really well.  We found a couple of new people who are interested in learning a bit more, so we will be visiting them throughout the week.  

Tuesday we had the opportunity to go to the temple as a district, the 2 sisters and us 2 elders.  It was a really neat experience.  The session was supposed to start at 9 and we showed up at about 8:57, but we made it, and it was great.  I really felt quite a bit of comfort, at a time where it was definitely needed.  It is a smaller temple, only 1 endowment room, but it is really, really beautiful inside.  

It was also a week of goodbyes for one of the sisters here, as she finished up her mission.  Sister Carrasco from Peru has been here ever since I got here, it will be weird not having her in the area.  There were quite a few "Family home evenings"  which were excuses for almost the whole ward to get together and eat and say bye.  Sister Dennis from Utah is the new missionary in my district, which means that all 4 of us are from the good ole US of A.  It will be tempting to have all the meetings in English, but I won’t do it.  

The ward is doing well, this week we have stake conference coming up, but you can already feel the changes in the ward, just with the way that the bishop and the new counselors are.  It is going to be fun.  Something that I studied this morning was Abraham 3:22-23.  What stuck out to me was that "God saw these souls, that they were good. And he stood in the midst of them and said, these I will make..." (rough translation from Spanish) What sticks out is that I get the feeling that when God saw the souls, that they were good, He did a lot more than just watch them, but was an active and involved Father who helped them, who "stood in the midst of them" and "made them" his rulers. God is not a passive Father, but a Father who takes part in the lives and development of His children.  That is something that really stuck out and inspired me this week.

I love the family theme for the year, it has the approval of Elder Mangum.   Sounds like everybody is excited for school, we will see how long that lasts!

Love you all,

Elder Mangum

Some other pictures from the last couple of weeks - 

Zone Conference August 2015

The T-Shirt that our District Designed

Waiting for the Bus

Monday, August 17, 2015

Service and a new Bishop

Hola fam,

This week went well.  It absolutely flew by. We are now in the last week of the transfer, which is pretty crazy, it feels like I just was picking up my greenie from the mission home! This week my comp and I were both pretty sick, flu-like symptoms, but that didn’t stop us from getting out and working.  Wednesday we had district meeting, which is always fun, I have the best district in the mission.  We did interviews, and then I had to go and write the end of transfer reports.  Before the mission, I had no idea that there would be so much paperwork!  

Thursday we were able to visit one of the families that Elder Campello and I found, and we taught them The Restoration, and committed them to read, pray, and come to church.  Unfortunately, they didn’t come to church. Saturday my comp and I had the spirit of service.  There was an activity planned to help an hermano load up roof tiles in a truck (over 1000) that the elders quorum president had made and then drive them to his own house, so we went to go help.  Unfortunately, they had cancelled the activity on Friday night and had told everybody, except the two gringo missionaries. So we show up at the house of the Elders Quorum President ready to work at 8AM, but nobody else was there.  We ended up helping the Elders Quorum with some work he had, then went to a member of the bishoprics house to go dig a trench, and then went to another member’s house to chop firewood, all before lunchtime!  It was a pretty packed day.

Sunday was interesting.  We got a new bishop in the ward, Obispo Pascualon, an older member that is about 75.  There will definitely be some changes in the way things are run, but it will be good.  I have no doubt that our leaders, both local and churchwide, are called by revelation!

We have planned to go to the temple tomorrow as a district, which will be really good.  The ward handles more of the retention phase of the work.  The plan in the mission is that all recent converts go to the temple to do baptisms ASAP. Nothing too out of the ordinary this week, other than the new bishop.  My favorite time of day is the studies that we do in the mornings.  The toughest part of the schedule is having to go out and work after eating a really heavy lunch.  I am well into my second pair of shoes, there may be a few small holes.

Crazy that it is already time to go back to school.  Summer definitely flew by!  

Love you all!

Elder Mangum

Monday, August 10, 2015

Zone Conference

Hey fam,

The week was really good.  We had the zone conference on Tuesday, which was really enlightening.  We focused on winning more references from the members and on the Atonement.  That is a topic I am really starting to focus on in my personal studies.  On Friday we had exchanges with the Zone Leaders, I was with Elder Campello from Brazil.  We found 7 new investigators in one day!  2 separate families, without knocking any doors!  All we did was talk to a lady at a bus stop and it ended up in 7 new people who want to learn more about the church and the gospel.  A really fun day, the first time I had worked with a Brazilian, which was a lot of fun.  We also visited a family in the ward that is from Brazil and when we went, they all spoke Portuguese, which was cool because I could actually understand a good part of it as well.  

During the zone conference we also had a training from Elder Muñoz (one of my ex comps) on the Book of Mormon.  We talked about the converting power that the Book of Mormon has, and just how important it is to use in our teaching.  The amount of chapters in the Book of Mormon that are dedicated to the Atonement...there are quite a few!  The whole thing really is "Another Testament of Jesus Christ!" 

Saturday was Sister Carrasco’s birthday, one of the sisters in my district, so we had lunch with them, the zone leaders, and members.  We got to have cow heart again!  Delicious...not! Sunday was really good, talking about the eternal responsibility and calling of being a parent.  It is the only calling of which we will never be released.  

My comp and I are doing really well.  We are in the flow of things, it is crazy to think that there are only 2 weeks left in the transfer.  Gonzalo is doing well, still going strong in coming to church and everything.  The next step is getting him the Aaronic Priesthood.  Something new this week, check out Mormon 9, it is full of good stuff!  

Glad to hear that every is going better back at home, prayers and fasting from the West Zone here in the mission have been headed up to Virginia.  Sounds like seminary will be a lot of fun these next few years!  

Love you all,

Elder Mangum

Monday, August 3, 2015

Gonzalo's Baptism

McDonalds and Walmart in Argentina...some things never change!

Hey fam,

This week was a good one. Gonzalo got baptized on Saturday, and both him and Dana got confirmed yesterday.  Tons of people showed up for the baptisms and confirmations, we had the highest attendance yesterday of people in sacrament meeting since I have been in Argentina (133!). 

This past week we had a zone meeting, and talked about the importance of both asking inspired questions and listening.  Elder Holland has said that if we will listen to what our investigators say, they will tell us exactly what their needs are.  Friday night was a reception for an RM that just came back into the ward after serving in Peru.  That was a lot of fun, we had a few nonmembers and lots of less actives show up to that.  The highlight was probably my companion knocking the huge cake onto the ground...which we later ate, but the people who were serving "accidentally" forgot to give any cake to my comp!  We got a laugh out of that.  Saturday was the baptism of Gonzalo, in which I sang with the youth of the ward the EFY Medley, in Spanish.  It was a really good baptismal service, with a lot of support from the ward.  It is really interesting to see just how much the relationship between the missionaries and the bishopric and ward council has improved in the past 2 months, and in the past 3 weeks especially.  The attitude of the missionaries really does make a difference in a lot of different aspects, not just with the people we teach, but with the members as well. This week I was studying a lot in 3 Nephi, when Christ came to the Americas.  What probably stuck out the most to me was when he talks about the importance of following His example, and doing what we have seen Him do.  

The training is going really well, we have gotten into a good routine, and Elder Lakey is a quick learner, and always tries to apply what we talked about in the morning that very same day.  It is nice to be able to slip into a little English every once in a while!  

The district is doing well, everybody is happy and having success, although the sisters did lose their cell phone on Friday...but stuff happens, que va a hacer!  We do have a zone conference tomorrow, with about a third of the mission going and we will listen to a few trainings from President and his wife and the assistants. Not really any new progressing investigators, we have to work on that, although we are teaching the girlfriend of a less active member, and have received a lot of references this weekend to visit this upcoming week.  Something that happened this week that really strengthened me was going to the baptism of Gonzalo, who after 6 long years finally made the decision to be baptized, and the joy that you could visibly see that his wife had.  Something unusual this week, well I broke a molar, and also ate cow heart and cow stomach!  Delicious!  Not sure how I managed to swallow the heart down, but I did! The mission really is full of surprises.

That is great about the family scripture study, Luke makes me laugh.  Give everybody my love back home.  I will be praying extra hard for Marc and his family. It is hard to swallow, makes me really grateful that yesterday was Fast Sunday and for the reminder that we are all tied together for eternity, no matter what happens. 


Elder Mangum

**Before Michael left, everyone in the family got matching ties to be worn on Fast Sunday.  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.  We know that great strength, blessings and miracles happen when we unite our faith together in Jesus Christ through prayer and fasting.

"Family is the center of life and is the key to eternal happiness." 
Elder L. Tom Perry