Monday, November 30, 2015

Otro Mes

Hey fam,

Otro mes in the books!  On to December.  Life is normal down here in Marcos Juarez.  This week was pretty average, although we did have interviews with President on Saturday, which was unexpected.  

Wednesday we had district meeting in Leones, and the ZLs came down (they always come to my meetings...not sure if that is a good or a bad thing...)  I gave a training on how to teach in a way that the investigators can understand, and that "understanding the doctrine"  means applying it to your own life.  After the meeting, the sister from Brazil cooked stroganaugh.  Nothing like Mom's, that is for sure.  Apparently it is completely different in Brazil than in the states, although it was quite delicious.  Its just rice and meat, with a special sauce.  It was good, despite the fact the sister had burnt the rice...but with the sauce, you couldn't even taste it!  It is always an adventure when the sisters cook, but I am sure they say the same thing whenever us Elders cook as well.

Saturday we had interviews with President.  They were supposed to start at 5...Prez showed up at 9.  We got back to our area at 2 in the morning.  Quite the night.  But it was good to be able to sit and chat with President, even if it was a pretty quick interview given the time that we had.  While we waited for President, we did an "Open Chapple"  which is where we contact people in the street and invite them to take a tour of the church.  I went on a 30 minute split with Elder Ware from Utah, who has all of 7 weeks in the field.  It was nice to speak a little English. Sunday went OK.  The same member gave the classes in the second and combined third hour.  We talked about Elder Oaks talk "Good, Better, Best."  It is an excellent talk, I highly recommend it.

Something new that I have done, a ton of cooking.  Today I made burgers for the district, it seems that I am cooking a lot more in these last 2 areas.  No Christmas songs yesterday.  My favorite Christmas hymn is I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, but singing it with a good tempo, not too slow.  Argentine traditions, stay up until midnight on Christmas and shoot off fireworks.  That is about it.  And lots of asado (BBQ).

Sounds like Caroline has been getting quite a bit of attention!  I am glad to hear that Thanksgiving went well.

Love you all!

Elder Mangum

Monday, November 23, 2015

Counting Blessings

Hey fam,

What a week!  A new Mangum in the house and everything!  Bienvenidos Caroline!  Down here in Argentina, things weren't quite as crazy as back home, but it went well. We were able to find lots of new people, and Jesus showed up out of the blue at church again, with a few more tattoos than the last time we saw him, but its all good! 

Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty normal, and Thursday we had a zone meeting, and I gave a training on the Holy Ghost.  The importance of recognizing it (and how we can do that), and using it as we teach.  From the feedback I got, it seems like it went well.  Zone conference is in Bellville, an hour away. We got back to our area that night, and there had been a huge storm, and the whole city lost power.  For the next 48 hours they were rotating generators neighborhood by neighborhood.  We would have power 2 hours, and then nothing for 4. That went on until Sunday.

Friday, we went to Leones to work with 2 of the sisters.  Leones is a town even smaller than ours, not exactly the easiest area in the world.  But we went, and tried to help them out, and we found a couple of people for them to start teaching. Sunday here was normal, aside for the whole Argentina electing a new president. Not too much political unrest.  And they did vote for a huge change.   We received a message from the Area Presidency that after 4pm, we had to be in the pension for safety reasons.  So it was church (where for the first time in a long time we didn't have to do anything except attend!) and then lunch, and then back to the apartment.  But it was good, being able to read quite a bit in the Book of Mormon, which is always important!

This week, should be a pretty normal week, no activities here for Thanksgiving.  Mmmm, Turkey with gravy.  Gravy doesn't exist here.  I miss thatJust gotta keep on keeping on!  Counting every blessing that comes my way, and baby Caroline is a big one!  Enjoy Thanksgiving!

Love you all!

Elder Mangum

Monday, November 16, 2015

Staying in Marcos Juarez

And the Rain came tumbling down...

Hey fam,

Life is good.  Man, transfers were crazy.  Not really, just about everything stayed the same.  I am in the same area with my same comp, Elder Venegas.  And only 1 of the 4 sisters got changed, so the district is pretty much the same as well. We will be spending Christmas together, the next transfers are the 27th of December.  

The week went well.  Last Monday we had Pday as a district, which was a lot of fun. Tuesday was just another day in field.  Wednesday was the last District meeting of the transfer, where I gave a training on Power and Authority. Page 4 of PMG (in Spanish).  I talked about how we get the authority when we get set apart as missionaries, but if we want to preach with power, that requires a little bit more effort on our part.  Obedience, diligent study, etc.  We did a pretty cool practice, where we set the room up as if it was a plaza, and one companionship had 5 minutes to contact everybody in the plaza using the Book of Mormon, and trying to find who was the most prepared. Of course, speaking with the power and authority that corresponds with our calling as well.  

Thursday, it rained.  And rained.  And kept on raining.  All day long. The city had a bit of flooding. Did I mention it rained?  And that I have a hole in my shoe?  Not a good combination.  But we had fun, because in situations like those, you just have to enjoy it!  Running across the city, contacting in the rain and just having a blast.  Friday, the highlight was that we taught a part member family about the Sabbath Day and baptism, using Alma 7:11-16

Saturday, we went to Leones (a town about 15 minutes away) where the 2 of the sisters are, to listen to transfers.  It was surprising that so many of us stayed the same.  It will definitely be another fun transfer!  Sunday was interesting, they asked us to help out in primary because the kids were acting up.  It was the older kids as well, the 10 and 11 year olds.  I am not ready to be a primary teacher.  The lesson was on Matthew 25, and the poor teacher was fed up with the kids.  So I had everybody stand up and we acted out the end of Matt 25.  I put all of the kids who were acting up on my left, and all those who were mas o menos behaving themselves on my right.  It got their attention, especially when I quoted the scriptures on what Christ will say to each group.  It definitely put things in a new perspective for the kids, and for me as well. 

The part member family didn't make it to church.  Something I learned this week...that I still have much to learn in this area and with my comp!  There is no piano in the branch.  6 more weeks in Marcos Juarez...should be fun.  Glad to hear all is well.  Should be an exciting week in the Mangum fam!  And that is awesome about Kev!

Love you all!

Elder Mangum

District Training

District P-Day

Monday, November 9, 2015

Zone Training

Hey fam,

Todo bien aquí en Marcos Juarez.  It was a pretty good week.  On Wednesday the Zone Leaders asked me to give another training to the Zone, this time on the importance of the Book of Mormon.  A lot that had to do with the conference we had last week, but more focused on how to use it in our daily lives as missionaries (and after the mission as well).  Whenever I give trainings, I like to focus on the eternal principle behind the concept, the "why" it is important, and not just in the mission. Lots of people give trainings on how to find new people or the importance of the mission schedule, but I prefer the Joseph Smith way- teach the people correct principles and they will govern themselves.

This week we had a miracle, one of the part member families that we have been working with, showed up to church on Sunday!  The woman is a member, but her "husband" (they aren’t married but they live together) isn't a member, and they showed up for all 3 hours yesterday! It was awesome.  They like to go out and party on the weekends, the clubs here open up at 2AM, and the hermana told me that she woke up at 2, planning to go clubbing, but her husband said no we’re going to church, we can`t go out tonight.  And they came, which was fantastic.  And they are planning to come this next week as well, with their 3 kids.  Definitely the highlight of the week!  Plus the huge BBQ this same family made for us after church, it was finger licking good!  That is one thing here in Argentina that I love, the beef!

Church went well this week, I didn't have to teach or speak, just bless the sacrament. My comp is doing well, but transfers are this weekend and he has been here for 4 months, so we will see!  Tell Luke my favorite Christmas song is the Jingle Bell Rock.  Followed by a close second of Mele Kelikimaka. Sounds like you guys had a great week!  I would send more pictures, but I don`t have the luxury of technology like my buddies do.  

Love you all, and read the Book of Mormon!  Daily!

Elder Mangum

Monday, November 2, 2015

Mission Conference

Mission Conference Oct 2015

Hey fam,

16 months as a missionary!  It feels more like 16 days to be honest, time just flies by.  The week went well, no news on Jesus G, he seems to have dropped off the face of the earth.  This week we got to go to Cordoba for a conference with about half of the missionaries of the mission, which was a blast.  It’s always great to listen to President and his wife.  In the conference, the focus was on the Book of Mormon and the Sabbath Day - 2 huge instruments in the role of retaining converts, as well as in our own personal conversion.  We talked about that the people we teach really only have one doubt, and that is if the Book of Mormon is true.  Because if it’s true, everything else falls into place.  

This week I also had the opportunity to do a baptismal interview for an 8 year old girl, who proceeded to teach me the 5 missionary lessons.  She will be the only member in her family, aside from her 23 year old uncle who is about to go out on a mission.  She was extremely prepared, and the sisters have only been teaching her for a month.  However, when Saturday rolled around, she showed up to her own baptism crying, due to problems her family was having.  After waiting over an hour, she decided to postpone her baptism for a different weekend. It taught me a huge lesson concerning our free agency as sons and daughters of God.  In the church we don't force anybody to do anything, we have to use our agency.  It was also good to remember that agency is a gift, it’s part of the process that we have to be able to progress.  There is a consequence for every decision that we make, be it a good one or a not so good one.  

We do have Halloween here, but it’s not nearly as big as it is back at home.  Investigators of ours are MIA, we were only in our area 2 days this week with the travel to Cordoba and helping the sisters with the baptism.  There is a branch mission leader, and there are about 6 youth in the branch.  I didn't teach YM, this week I taught YW!  There were only 2, and I taught about giving thanks.  We organized an activity for the Friday after Thanksgiving, to have a Thanksgiving of our own down here. Sunday was my second Fast Sunday in the ward, which was filled with quite a bit of silence. This week I will be in Helaman studying. 

It is beginning to feel a bit more like spring now.  Today I made peach cobbler...didn't exactly come out the way it was supposed to, but the flavor was there! Sounds like things are going great at home!  I am glad that everybody had a good week.  

Love you all!

Elder Mangum