Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas and Transfers

Elder Mangum and Elder Diaz on P-Day

Hey fam,

Transfers came and went, and I am still in Marcos Juarez.  I did change companions, and am now with Elder Diaz, from Uruguay.  He has 8 months in the mission, a young fella with some fire to baptize, so we will definitely be doing some of that this next month.  

The week went by really fast, with a zone meeting on Wednesday, Christmas Eve on Thursday, Christmas on Friday, and transfer calls on Saturday.  Truth be told, we traveled outside of our area every day this past week minus Tuesday. Christmas Eve we hung out with a family until about midnight, saw the fireworks, and went off to bed.  Christmas was awesome this year, being able to talk to the Skype and see everybody. The rest of the day we hung out and played games with the sisters, sang Christmas songs, and just enjoyed the Christmas spirit.

Church on Sunday went well, I didn't have to teach or talk.  It was the primary program here in the ward, which is always a great experience.  After church, we went and visited a few families for my comp to say goodbye, then our branch president drove us to Bellville, where 2 of the sisters are (it’s about an hour away, he made it in a half an hour) so that we could be there for their baptism.  It was a spur of the moment decision, but it was nice to be able to surprise them and show our support, because only about 4 members from their actual branch showed up.  This morning at 3 a.m. we took a bus to Cordoba for transfers and get my new comp.  My whole district is different, I am now the only one who speaks English.  It will be a very different transfer, that is for sure.

I loved being able to talk with all of y’all on Friday.  My favorite part of Marcos Juarez (so far) is the branch president, who is always down to work and help us out.  Best thing I have eaten here, shrimp! 
Love you,
Elder Mangum

Pictures from the Branch's Christmas Party & Nativity


Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas from Argentina!

It was great to Skype with Michael on Christmas morning!  
He was able to get a slightly blurry connection and we were so 
excited to be able to see him while we talked!  



Caroline pretty much just slept through
meeting her big brother!

Feliz Navidad!

Monday, December 21, 2015


Hey fam,

This week was easily one of the craziest I have had in the mission. On Tuesday I got a phone call, telling me that my companion and I had to travel to the province of Tucuman the next day with 30 other missionaries to do paperwork to become legal in the country again, because our visas had expired.  Its a 5 hour bus ride from our area to Cordoba, and 10 hours from Cordoba to Tucuman.  Tucuman is also not part of our mission, it belongs to the Argentina Salta Mission.  We woke up Wednesday morning, and started the road trip!

We got to Cordoba and did some paperwork that afternoon, then had 3 hours of free time to walk around downtown Cordoba and do whatever we wanted before dinner. We visited the huge mall they have, as well as the historical Cathedral.  We then had dinner at the mission home (after a trip to McDonalds to grab a KitKat Mcflurry, because what is a trip to the capital without some Mickey D's!).  After dinner we hopped on the bus and headed off to Tucuman, which is actually the city where Argentina signed its Declaration of Independence.  We traveled all night long, and pulled up to our 4 star hotel at 8 in the morning.  We dropped our stuff off, enjoyed a good ole Argentina hotel continental breakfast, and headed off to the police station to do the paperwork. We show up to the police station, and they tell us that we can't do anything today, and to go back tomorrow.  So we leave, take a picture like I had to do with the passport, and call it a day.  Its only 10AM, and we have done all that we can do.  So I headed back to the hotel with my homeboy Elder Parada from Colombia, and we take a nap til lunch.  Then its off to the 2nd fanciest restaurant in the city, to eat the famous Tucuman empanadas.  Then its free time again, so we walk around the city (its only about 110 degrees outside, but how often do you get "vacation" in the mish?!) Take a few pics, and head back to the hotel.  


It was so hard not to take a dip in the pool that was on the roof...but I managed not to.  

The night rolled around, and we headed off to The fanciest restaurant in town (at 10:30 at night- the whole mission schedule thing was kind of thrown out the window by the people in charge). We had the most diverse Argentine BBQ I had seen.  I'm talking intestine, heart, brain, stomach, blood sausage, you name it and it was on the plate. 

After dinner, we head back to the hotel (you know, its only about midnight and we are walking around in downtown Tucuman) and when we get back, the power in the whole block was out.  A transformer had blown, which was going to make for a long night.  Especially with the heat.  Luckily, I was rooming with my son, Elder Lakey, so we talked until 2AM when the power came back on and we could finally put on the AC. 

The next day, we did all of the paperwork we needed to do, had lunch at the hotel, and vacations were just about over.  They gave us another couple of hours Friday night to go shopping and buy recuerdos, so we did that and headed back to Cordoba.  We got back to our actual area about 12 on Saturday, where I was then told I had to write the transfer reports on my district.  Not sure how coherent they ended up being, but I got them done. 

Yesterday, church was pretty normal. We had branch council for the second week in a row, and I felt bad because I kind of took it over, but at the end of the day everybody left with assignments for people to visit and President told me it was the most effective meeting he had been in, so I guess it was OK.  

Last night, we went Christmas caroling with the sisters and some members in Leones, which was a lot of fun.  One of the sisters plays guitar, so we went around singing with the guitar.  It was interesting to see the people's reactions, because caroling doesn't really exist here.  But they enjoyed it.  The favorites were Din Don Dan (Jingle Bells) and Feliz Navidad.  The highlight was going into an old folks home and seeing their faces as we sang, it reminded me of doing the same thing back at home, and feeling the same Christmas spirit.  

Feliz Navidad!

Tonight we have the Christmas dinner in our branch, as well as the nativity scene.  They told me I am going to be Joseph, not sure how that happened.  It’s going to be another fun filled week!  And to top it all off, transfers are this weekend, so it will be exciting to see where I end up, or if I stay.

Love you all!

Elder Mangum

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Christmas Mission Conference

Our "little" Greenies

Hey fam,

What a week!  I am doing well.  I was able to finish the Book of Mormon this week, and yes, I have started studying it in Portuguese.  Highlights of the week include last Tuesday, where we were supposed to have Branch Council, and only the branch presidency and us showed up.  But we planned then and there to give it another shot for Sunday, after church, and this time around everybody showed up.  Progress, por lo menos!  

Wednesday was district meeting, which is always a good time.  I gave a training on using time wisely, and the eternal principle of planning.  Not the most interesting of topics to tell you the truth, but a very important one.  A lot of rain again this week, so that was a lot of fun as well.

Rainy days = Wet Missionaries
Sunday I gave a talk on Missionary Work, and my comp on the importance of studying the scriptures.  Then in priesthood I gave the lesson on Ch. 23 in the Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Fortalece tus estacas.  Then we had lunch, and got ready to head off to the Christmas Mission Conference.  We took a bus at 3AM and got to the conference at 8.  If you look at a map, my area is practically in a different province of Argentina, we are only about 15 minutes away from being in the Rosario Mission.  

The conference was a blast. President dressed up as Santa Clause, with the assistants as his elves.  

The spiritual part was in the morning, where President taught us the plan for the Area and the Mission for 2016.  The mission plan in 2016- Baptize More, Retain More, and REactvate more. Work with sincerity, unity with the wards/branches, and always with the end in mind (TEMPLE). The plan is a lot of Sabbath Day and Self Reliance (big focus on teaching tithing and fast offerings to everybody again).

Family Meeting with Elder Lakey
Then a HUGE BBQ for the 200 missionaries, followed by a slideshow of the Mission Argentina Cordoba 2015, and then a talent show. President and his wife bought all of the Elders new ties, which was sweet, mine is an orange paisley design. After the talent show, everybody changed clothes and people played basketball, soccer, Frisbee, and even a little American Football.  It had been a year since I had touched a basketball, it felt so good to play again.  We finished up everything about 10 at night, and then we had to take the 5 hour bus ride back to the area.  Long day, and the bus ride back was a little crazy, none of us in the zone had really slept for about 48 hours.  It was a great week to be a missionary in the best mission in the world.

The 6 Texans in the Mish

Plans this week include going caroling with the sisters on Sunday, and going all out in trying to get a baptism before the end of the year.  Only 2 weeks left until transfers.  Gonna try and get a couple BOSS baptisms- Baptized On the Second Sunday. Gotta find los escogidos.  Love you all, and hope y'all have a great week! Good luck on finals!

Elder Mangum

3 am bus ride to the mission conference

The ride back, also about that same time, but after none of us had 
slept for about 48 hours. It was pretty fun!
Familia Marquez, who always feeds us lunch and dinner 
whenever we need it.  Sometimes both in the same day!
The Hamburgers I made on Pday a couple weeks ago
Me and my pal Valentin

Working in the Sisters Area

Monday, December 7, 2015

"Missionarying" & Christmas Video

Hey fam,
Pretty normal week in Marcos Juarez.  A week of knocking, talking, and "missionarying" as the people here say.  This week was a zone meeting, I gave another training on the importance of working with members, with a focus of the Law of Witnesses.  Like I've said before, I like to teach principles that apply in more ways than just knocking doors and finding people.  We were able to meet with several of the branch leaders and organize branch council, which will be tomorrow for the first time in several months.  Communication and organization are key in the work of salvation.  
No investigators in church, and only 23 people showed up, felt like a day back in Aimogasta.  This weekend (including today and tomorrow) is a huge holiday, I think its Day of the Virgin or something.  Miracle of the week.  An old lady stopped us on the street on Friday, telling us that she had talked with the Sisters in a different city that morning, and wanted us to visit her house and teach her and her grandson, Kevin.  An hour after she stopped us on the street, the sisters sent us a text message saying "We have a reference for you."  It was the same lady that we had talked with. This week we also were able to work with the other sisters in Leones, going door to door to share the Christmas video of the year and hand out a Christmas message that they had put together, which was pretty productive.  We went out with a member from their branch, and everybody knew him, so they were much more willing to open the door to us and accept the message.  
Sounds like it was a great week back home!  Glad to hear that everybody is doing well.  My favorite time of day is study time.  Favorite part of the week, Wednesdays, being able to teach the other missionaries.  Something I will miss from this area...the branch president.   He is a recent convert, but super cool.  Christmas goals, finish the Book of Mormon before the Christmas mission conference that is next Monday.  I am in Helaman.  I only started last week, so I should finish in time.  Then I'll read it in Portuguese.
Love you all!

Elder Mangum

A Savior is Born