Monday, October 26, 2015

Planting Seeds

Hey fam,

This week went well.  Jesus Guttierrez didn't show up to church, despite meeting with him several times during the week, so the baptism will be pushed back for the time being.  The highlight of my week was probably receiving a text telling me that one of the kids I had started teaching back in La Rioja got baptized this weekend.  5 months later, but I remember finding him during an intercambio in the capital and putting the first baptismal date goal with him.  Him, plus the three in Carlos Paz that got baptized this week, really motivate me, because although I may not be there in the area, I was an instrument in the Lord's hands in planting the seeds, and now we are seeing the fruits of our labors.  Other highlights of the week including eating fried cow heart, and shrimp!  Cow heart is much better fried than grilled.  Shrimp was a highlight because here it is super expensive and rare. 

During the week, the sisters in my district were visited by some of  the Sister Training Leaders from Cordoba, who also came and visited my district meeting.  Truth be told, when I gave the capacitación, it felt a little bit like teaching Relief Society, 6 sisters and my comp.  But it went well, I do enjoy teaching.  I talked about the importance of working efficiently, and not just diligently.  It’s great to work hard, but let’s be smart about it.  And then I talked a little bit about enjoying the work, learning to love missionary work.  I reviewed the basic principle that at the rate we serve others (the people, our comp, etc) we learn to love them.  And once we learn to learn to love the people (and most importantly, the Savior) we learn to love missionary work.  I mentioned Mosiah 15:7-9, and that despite having suffered for us, paying for every mistake that we would ever make, he ascended to heavens, full of compassion and love for us. 

Yesterday was fun as well, they called me last minute asking me to give a sacrament meeting talk on rescuing the less actives, and about 2 minutes before priesthood they asked me to give the lesson in young mens. I taught the lesson on patience. You just need to talk to them about soccer, then they start paying attention.  It was so funny, as soon as I made an analogy about sports, it totally caught their attention.  As a missionary, you learn to be prepared for just about anything!

We have had branch council once since I got here.  I have given 1 blessing in this area.  No activities, another thing that we are working to improve.  I didn't ever practice the Peruvian dance, but I can't get the music out of my head...

Sounds like everybody had a great week, and the trunk or treat looked like it was a lot of fun.  If it comes down to a vote for the name (and my choice gets the boot), I'm for Caroline.

Love you all!

Elder Mangum

Monday, October 19, 2015

Zone Training and Fun Pictures

My new Zone.  All the sisters are in my District.

Hey fam,

The week here was really good.  Elder Venegas and I killed it as far as numbers went, and we had an investigator in the chapel with a baptismal date for the 31st.  His name is Jesus Guttierrez, and was a drug addict that we are helping turn his life around.  I heard that my sisters in my old district baptized the family that we had been working with for months this past Saturday, so life is really good!

Other news in the week, Wednesday we had District meeting and the Zone Leaders came and talked about numbers, numbers, and more numbers.  But the message was good, we listened to a couple of "motivator" talks.  Then the sisters cooked lunch, which was interesting, to say the least.  

Everything else went pretty normal down here in Marcos Juarez, nothing too unusual.  My comp taught a tradition Peruvian dance to a group of people, and we got a boat load of new investigators.    We have some of the best numbers in the mission, and we are enjoying the work we do.

Yesterday was Mother's Day here in Argentina, so there were several talks that quoted Elder Holland's talk from this past conference.  Once again, I am grateful for the wonderful mom that I have! 

Sounds like y'all had a great week.  I am getting ready to be getting the email any week "Baby Mangum has arrived!"  It’s awesome that Dan got his call, he is really excited, and I am excited for him as well! 

Church was good here, a grand total of 32 in sacrament meeting, so there is definitely still work to do with the members.  Studies are going well.  I am going through the Book of Mormon with the institute manual in my personal study.  And for language study, I am reading Teachings of the Prophets: Jose Smith. Little bit of modern word to go in with the Libro de Mormon.  The most challenging thing so far has been keeping up the animo (that would be...nope, don't know the word in English, sorry) of some of the others.  Helping them stay happy and focused on the game, with animo.  We have to learn to love the work, and then everything is fun!  Life is good here in Marcos Juarez.  
Love y'all,

Elder Mangum

Recent Pictures - 

Cow's Head anyone?

Beef - It's what's for dinner!

Familia Sotelo, the ones who gave us American Breakfast

Elder Lackey & Elder Mangum

New Zone in Marcos Juarez

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Plan of Salvation

Hey fam!

Glad to hear that everybody had a good week!  Here everything was as normal as could be expected, getting to know the area, the members, and the not so large investigator pool. The area is pretty cool, more paved roads than all of my other areas combined, which is interesting considering the fact the town itself is only slightly bigger than Aimogasta.  Walking down their "downtown"  reminds me a tiny bit of being in Town Center down in Sugarland.  But just a little, it is missing a few key things.  Like fast food.  The weather this week was actually surprisingly cold, but it is warming up little by little.

This week Elder Venegas and I spent a lot of time working with the less active members.  There are 400 members in the area, and we only had 40 show up to church yesterday, so we definitely have some room for improvement.  Yesterday I was able to give my testimony in the branch.  On Thursday I had to give another training to the zone on how to work with members.  I guess word is going around that I give a pretty good training on it, because it is like the 3rd time I have done it in a month.  

This week in my studies I was in Alma, when Alma gives his final chats to his 3 sons.  I got quite a bit out of it, concerning the plan of salvation and AtonementThe knowledge of the gospel does help.  I don't think it was a coincidence that this week I hit Alma 40The Atonement is real, and the plan is perfect.  There is no doubt in my mind about that.

My comp is from Peru, reminds me a lot of my other comp from Peru and also my comp from Nicaragua (which makes sense, because Muñoz was his trainer).  Raised in the church, in a branch in northern Peru.  The part they call "the jungle."  Our first week was good.  Church is 3 hours, but there is no gospel principles class, everybody is together studying the New Testament.  There are quite a few things we need to talk with the branch president about this week in regards to Sunday meetings. I make sure that we get food on a daily basis from members.  There are 2 other companionships in the district, the sisters that are in a town 15 minutes away called Leones, and the other sisters than are an hour away in a city called Bellville.  Lots of bus trips.  The apartment is great, well, sort of.  We have a shower with hot water (most of the time) but no fridge or "plancha"...I think that is iron in English?  The thing you use to get the wrinkles out of shirts.  

I am glad to hear about the UT (the real UT...University of Tennessee) and BYU wins.  I heard about Maddie's call, that is awesome!  Everybody is heading out on missions, it is great!

Love you all!
Elder Mangum

Monday, October 5, 2015

Transferred to Marcos Juarez!

Hola Familia!

The week went well.  I did get transferred, as expected.  I am now in another small town, Marcos Juarez, about 4 hours from the capital. It should be fun.  But no more temple trips for a while, unfortunately.  My new companion is Elder Venegas, from Peru.  He has 3 months in the mission, he got here at the same time as my last companion.  The elder has only been in this area since he got to Argentina, so he should know it pretty well. The area has only had 2 baptisms in the past 2 years, so we will be changing a few things!  It is a small branch of about 30 people from what I am told.  We are the only missionaries in the area.  

As far as the week goes, we taught a few lessons but nothing earth shattering.  English class, we only had 1 person showed up.  Conference was really good.  I especially enjoyed the talks by Elders Holland and Oaks.  I was able to watch all of the sessions, 3 in Spanish and 2 in English.  Everybody brought food and shared between the conference sessions.  

Did you get the email from Hermano Sotelo? On Sunday morning with the American breakfast?  Good ole American breakfast! French toast, pancakes, maple syrup, OJ, hashbrowns, biscuits...probably at exactly the same time y'all would have been doing it back at home! 

General Conference Breakfast with the Familia Sotelo!

Sunday night I had my "despedida" (goodbye party) from a family in the ward.  One of the sons is 23 who I have been working with a ton, his name is German, and tomorrow he starts his mission papers.  When I got to the area 4 months ago, he was not going to church.  A Major change!  He told me that dozens and dozens of missionaries have come through trying to get him to go, just grinding on him to go and giving him a hard time for not having gone, and I didn't-  My way was different, according to him.  To be honest, I can't remember ever doing anything out of the ordinary, but I am glad that I was able to help!  That is what the mission is all about!

It is really sad to hear about Uncle Marc, but the plan is real, and it is good.  As the sister said in conference, "todo saldrá bien."  It will all work out. I have no doubt about that.

Love you all,

Elder Mangum