Monday, January 25, 2016

New Investigators

Hey fam,

It was a record setting week down here in Marcos Juarez.  Elder Diaz and I worked our tails off, and found the most new investigators in a single week in the history of the area.  The home run of the week was on Saturday night, when we were invited to the birthday dinner of a recent convert, and found 9 new investigators in the dinner, putting 2 baptismal dates as well.  Not a bad night, not to mention a huge Argentine BBQ to go along with it.  

Tuesday was a normal day, we decided to travel that night to Bellville where the Zone Leaders live. We were going to stay the night at their apartment because we had a zone meeting the next day.  Only problem was, they were on a trip to Cordoba, and were going to arrive about 11:30 at night.  In and of itself that wasn't a problem, because we took the 10:30 bus from our town and would show up about the same time.  However, without giving us a heads up, they were held back with delays in the capital, and didn't actually take a bus until midnight...and it is about a 3 hour trip.  So we waited.  And waited.  And waited in the bus terminal until 3 in the morning, when they showed up and we took a cab to their apartment.  Then it was up and at ‘em Wednesday morning at 6:30 to get ready for the zone meeting and the worldwide missionary training.  I gave a small training on urgency, citing the scripture in D&C about hastening the work.  We did some really cool practices that I learned in the MTC, call BOSS Baptism, "Baptized On the Second Sunday."  In 5 three minute appointments, we have to teach all of the things that an investigator would need to know in order to pass their baptismal interview.  The worldwide training was good, we heard from several apostles and there was a big focus on several principles from PMG, mainly Chapter 4 and 9.  

The rest of the week was just another week at the office, plus the miracles that we had on Saturday.  Sunday I gave a talk on revelation.  I talked about how the prophet receives revelation for the whole church, the branch president for the branch (a big focus on how the local leaders are called of God and what it means to sustain them) and how we can receive personal revelation for ourselves and for our families.  However, the personal revelation we receive will not be in contradiction to the things that we learn from our leaders and the prophets.  

Sounds like y’all had a great week, and a really cool opportunity with President Nelson coming to talk to the youth.  I am jealous that I won't get to be there!  I remember when Elder Ballard came down with Elder Nielson and I was asked to say the opening prayer and sit on the stand.  An awesome experience!  

Love you all, have a great week!

Elder Mangum

Monday, January 18, 2016

A fridge and a fan

Hey fam,

Another week down.  Already over halfway done with January, which is pretty hard to believe.  Nothing crazy this week, I gave a zone training on the question "Where are your baptisms?" Because at that point, we were the only companionship who had baptized, (Saturday my sisters in the district baptized, so it looks like the training worked.)  I put a major focus on the Atonement, and the small things we do on a daily basis that are fundamental in leading up to a baptism.  

Other than that, a pretty normal week.  Nobody showed up to church, which was kind of a downer, but we got interviewed again and next week they SHOULD make us official in the branch. 4 talks on Sunday, and all 4 touching the themes of self reliance and service. 

This week there is a worldwide missionary training, the last time there was one of those, they announced the publication of Preach My Gospel, so we will see what happens!  I am pretty excited. We will watch it as a zone in Bellville, which is about an hour away.

Sounds like y’all had a great week.  That is really cool about Elder Christofferson visiting Grandpa and Grandmommie. Valentin didn't show up, nor Alexis, so that was pretty rough.  We get fed really well. No English classes, and the apartment is OK.  We just got a fridge and a fan this week, so we aren't dying of heat anymore.  No hot water though, but it’s all good, at least it is coming out of a shower and not a bucket this time. Oh yeah, I got 3 packages this week! The Dr. Pepper candy is had just a touch of the flavor, which is great.  

Love you all!

Elder Mangum

Monday, January 11, 2016

Valentin's Baptism

Hey fam,

Life is good in the pueblito de Marcos Juarez.  Yesterday we were able to baptize my amigo Valentin Piriz, which was awesome.  It had been a while since the branch had a baptism, we did it right after church, and the majority stayed for a little bit...then left before the kid got baptized.  More on that story later, it’s a funny one.  

The week went well, we were able to teach quite a bit and found a boat load of new people.  Elder Diaz and I work well together, and the branch loves us.  Wednesday I gave a training on "inspired questions" and listening with love to the people that we are teaching.  The promise from Elder Holland is that if we listen with love (with charity, understanding the atonement and how it can be applied in the situation)  the spirit will tell us all that we need to say.  Missionary work isn't rocket science, despite the fact that some people try to make it be.  

Saturday we had a good lesson with an investigator named Alexis, he has a baptismal date for the 24th, we are pretty excited for him and the potential he has.  That night the ZLs came down and did the interview for my buddy Valentin, and he passed with flying colors.  Sunday rolled around, we had a great 3 hours (we did the agenda for sacrament meeting, the first time in the history of the branch that they sang an intermediate hymn!).  We had to help out in primary again...I had them watch a video about the Book of Mormon (the Mormon Message with the guy from England) and then explained to them the importance of it.  IT went better than the last time, por lo menos!  Then it was time for the baptism.

I will not be forgetting this baptism any time soon.  My comp was going to baptize him, they all got dressed with no problems, I directed the baptismal service, 2 great talks before the ordinance, everything going as planned, and then we head to the font.  Nobody had mentioned that the poor guy is terrified of water!  He walked down tall the steps but the last one, and then started to say 'you're going to drown me, you're going to drown me, I'm scared.'  We tried to calm him down, his brothers who are members tried to convince him that everything would be fine, but nothing worked.  Our branch president got down in the water with him to try and comfort him, same with our Elders quorum president.  When that didn't work, President's son got in, and showed Valentin how we baptize (my comp proceeded to baptize him, without saying the prayer...twice).  Still, the poor kid couldn't get over his fear.  But at the same time, he wouldn’t leave the font because he wanted to be baptized, it was a long half an hour.  At this point, just about everybody who had stayed for the baptism, left because it was lunch time and they were hungry.  Finally Valentin decides to leave the font, and goes with President to the bathroom.  About 30 seconds later, the kid runs out, basically jumps in the font, and says let’s do this.  My comp baptized him, and when he came up out of the water, he goes "that's it?  Can we do it again?"  I won't lie, I shed a tear.  It was going to be the second time in my mission that the investigator showed up to the service, and decided not to be baptized.  But President worked some magic, and God answered our prayers, and Valentin overcame his fear of the water.  It was quite the experience!

Today the sisters came down for Pday, its Hermana Barbosa's birthday, so we grilled hamburgers and had ice cream, nothing too fancy, but its been fun.  Glad to hear that all is well back home, every time I look at the calendar I can't believe how fast time is flying.

Love you all!
Elder Mangum

A Book of Mormon Story

Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year!

Hey fam,

This week went well, we worked a ton and had a lot of fun doing it.  Just about every day of the week we put baptismal dates with our investigators, including the ones we were teaching the very first time. We had one kid come to church on Sunday, Valentin, that should be getting baptized next Sunday after church, and another 3 or 4 with plans for the 17th.  

Wednesday we had district meeting with the new district, and guess who came to visit us again, the Zone Leaders!  We still have the Brazilian, and now the other one is a guy from the Dominican Republic who speaks like 5 languages, I get along well with him.  I gave a training on setting goals, not just numbers wise but also for our personal development as missionaries and as children of God with divine potential.  I think it went pretty well.

New Years Eve was a blast, we had permission to stay out with our Branch President until midnight when the fireworks went off, which was a lot of fun.  His parents came as well, and they aren't members, so we got to talk and teach them a little bit too.  Argentine BBQ, and a lot of it.  I think I gained like 4 kilos...we ate well this week.  

The rest of the week went well, nothing too unexpected until Sunday, when we got to church and there were none of the little cups for the sacrament.  One of the counselors got super upset with President (more on that later, it’s a very interesting soap opera) but I didn't see it as that big of a deal.  We used a couple of styrofoam cups and it solved the problem, it’s not like there are a ton of us anyway.  I was able to give my testimony Sunday on both the importance of the Atonement and the perfectness of the Plan of Happiness.  Then I got to teach primary again, which was another wonderful experience.  This time went better than the last, por lo menos!  

Today we had a Zone Pday, we played a little tennis and ping pong, and just hung out.  The Brazilian sister made stroganoff again, this time with chicken, which was pretty good.  This week should be a good week, we have a lot of teaching to do, and are hoping to end it taking a dip in the baptismal font!  It’s been a while, it’s about time!

Tonight I have an interview with the District President, so that will be fun.  I am glad to hear that yall had a great week, and I loved seeing the pics that we were all "tied" together yesterday!

Love you all!

Elder Mangum