Monday, February 22, 2016

Working Hard

Hey fam,

It was a good week.  Pretty busy, a lot of work, being a ZL isn't as easy as they make it seem.  My hairline is receding even faster than before.  4 districts in the zone.  11 companionships in total, including the assistants to the president.  But it’s been fun, we have 8 baptisms lined up for this weekend in my area (between us and the other companionship), so we're praying that it will all work out!  Truth be told, I don't remember a ton of details from the week.

Tuesday we worked ourselves dead finding people and putting baptismal goals for the 28th with 3 people.  We had ward council as well that night.  Wednesday we stayed in our area and went to the District Meeting of the DL who lives with us (every week we choose a different meeting to go to)  and guess who decided to make a surprise visit?  The mission president.  First time in my nearly 2 years here that he has done that, but it was cool.  We did intercambios with one of the areas, Arguello, and afterwards ate 3 litros of ice cream in one sitting between the 4 of us. (The ice cream here is super cheap...a cone with 2 scoops here is the equivalent of a dollar back at home). 

The rest of the week was work, work, work. Friday we went to the temple, which was neat, the first time since Carlos Paz that I have been able to go. Being a ZL, and over the temple, I can pretty much go whenever I want. Special privileges, it’s pretty cool.  Sunday was good, it’s nice being back in a ward where my only worry is that my investigators get to church. 

This week I hit 2 Nephi 2, a chapter full of "nuggets" as Brother Brame would say, I encourage y’all to check it out.  There is an opposition in all things, but we are free to choose for ourselves. Or as President Hinckley said "You can be smart and happy or you can be stupid and miserable. The choice is yours." 

We are teaching a boat load of people, but the ones who should be baptized this weekend are Javier, Richard, Jessie, Ruben, Lautaro, Lucas.  A normal zone baptizes 10 a month, in the zone we have 12 lined up for this weekend alone.  Nothing too different in this area, although I am on a bike for the first (and probably last) time in my mission. This week we have a Broadcast/training from Elder Bednar on Wednesday.  4 months from today I land on Texas soil, hard to believe.

Have a great week!

Elder Mangum

Monday, February 15, 2016

Hill Country of Cordoba

Hey fam,

This was a good week.  Learning the ropes as a Zone Leader has been fun.  I love the area, it is great to be back in the hill country of Cordoba.  Both the areas of Rio Ceballos and Carlos Paz were this type of scenery and climate, so it feels very familiar.  Those were also my two favorite areas, so its an added plus.  In the ward we have 4 missionaries, my comp and I, Elder Coombs from Utah, and Elder Aldaz from Ecuador. We are all in the same pension, which is fun.  Everything in the pension works as well, the fridge, the microwave, and we even have a washing machine, perks of being a Zone Leader. We have the biggest zone in the mission, with 22 missionaries.  The zone includes the mission offices and the temple, so we have permission to go and teach investigators on temple grounds whenever we want.  

Last Monday was fun, a bunch of missionaries from my old districts hung out and we went to a Peruvian restaurant, and did bowling and walked around downtown. Tuesday it was back to work, we visited a few people here in the area, and had to organize a splash in Villa Belgrano, the area where the mission home and temple are located, because the 14 missionaries who were going to train had 3 hours of free time, and President wanted to put them to work, so he called us to organize it.  We got a map of the area and split it up into sectors, and made companionships of those who were going to train (the greenies still hadn't shown up yet) and we got to work.  In less than 3 hours, we found 20 new investigators for the area, which in that area, is unheard of.  Think of the neighborhood where the Houston Temple is located, it was the Argentine equivalent of knocking doors there.  I found a pretty cool family, Daniel who is a doctor, has his wife and 3 kids, the Elders who work in that area went on Saturday and have another appointment with him tomorrow, hopefully it will keep going well!  Wednesday and Thursday it was working in our area, and on Friday we had a zone meeting.  Elder Castro and I gave a small message, sharing the zone vision of baptizing 33 people this month and using all of the mission tools that we have at our expense.  We shared the last chapter of John as motivation.  I then went to a "rendir cuentas" (in English that would be...Accounting?  Basically giving reports of investigators) of one of the districts, it was..interesting to say the least.  Can't go into too much detail, not a ton of time to write it all out. That night I went to Rio Ceballos to do a baptismal interview, the girl never showed up, but it was cool to go back to my old area, truth be told it felt like coming home, I got to talk with the bishop of the ward for a solid hour and catch up on how things were going.

Saturday was more work, and Sunday we had 2 investigators in church, Ruben and his dad, who is also named Ruben.  Ruben Jr. has a baptismal date for this next Sunday, so we'll be praying for that.  Today we went to Rio Ceballos for Pday, we hiked up to a waterfall (truth be told, pretty pathetic waterfall) and grilled choripan (sausage on a bun mas o menos). It was a long day, I am pretty beat, but the whole zone came out and we did it together, which was the goal.  More zone unity, something that had been missing.  It is harder, trying to do these things with a zone, in a district there were 4 or 6 of us, now we are five times that amount.  But all in all, it went well, no complaints from anybody por lo menos!  I started the Book of Mormon and the New Testament again this week, hope to finish both by my birthday.  Read your scriptures every day, it may seem like something small, but it will make a huge difference! 

I have had some pretty good meals already, it feels so much better to be back in a city type of area.  There is a shopping (like a mall) a couple blocks from our house, and it feels like walking into First Colony Mall back at home.  Mickey D's, a smoothie place, stores, and it’s even got a movie theater.  All with AC, which is pretty awesome, especially since we are burning up down here this summer. (Did I mention our house has AC?  only in our bedroom, but it’s still awesome to come home a the end of the day to a freezing cold room after being out suffering in the heat!) My tooth is good, don't even notice it.  Valentine's Day is a thing here, but not as big.  Church was good on Sunday, they had me bear my testimony.  Glad to hear all is going well back at home, crazy that Maddie is already heading out on her mission!  Time is flying by, February is already halfway done.  

Love you all!  Take advantage of every minute this week!

Elder Mangum

Monday, February 8, 2016


Hey Fam!

Another area come and gone.  Saturday night I got the phone call, my new area is Villa Allende as Zone Leader.  It will probably be my last area.  It is the same zone where I started my mission, so it’s kind of cool that everything has come full circle.  I will be doing an exchange or two in Rio Ceballos, that's for sure!  My new comp is Elder Castro from...guess where...Peru! My third companion from Peru, which will be a lot of fun.  He has about 14 months in the mish, I actually was in the same zone when he started the mission and remember him as a greenie.  I am pretty pumped, I am in another one of the strongest wards in Cordoba (well, technically I am right outside of the city...again.)  It’s funny, half of my areas have been "strong" wards, and the other half have been tiny little branches or annexes.  The best of both worlds!

This last week in the area was fun, we did some service for our branch president, helping him clean up his backyard and move some things.  Wednesday we had a zone meeting and were in Bellville all day, but it was good to be able to do the end of transfer interviews with the sisters and really see how much each of them had progressed in the past 6 weeks.  Truth be told, I might miss being in charge of sisters, sometimes it wasn't easy, but I definitely learned a ton!  The rest of the week was pretty normal, Sunday half of the branch decided to go on vacations to Carlos Paz, so there were only about 20 of us in the chapel, but really it was probably the most spiritual Sunday that I have had in the area. All of the old timers in the branch in testimony meeting shared their testimonies and conversion stories, which was neat.  We studied 2 Nephi 2 in Sunday School, which is always a fun class, there is definitely an opposition in all things!

Sounds like y’all had a great time this week, minus Jake.  Hopefully he feels better!  I am pretty excited for my new zone, it is the zone that baptizes most in the mission, and we intend to keep it that way.  Crazy to think that, unless something crazy happens, this will be my final area.  It is crazy how time flies!  Love you all!

Elder Mangum

Some older pictures from Marcos Juarez in Nov/Dec

Monday, February 1, 2016

A Splash and a Root Canal

Hey fam,

Another record breaking week in District Marcos Juarez.  Last week I had gotten a call from the sister training leaders telling me that one of the companionships I have in my district was in need of some help, not with obedience, but in terms of doing the work with animo (good cheer?) and enjoying it.  So we did a "splash" on Wednesday, where 10 of us (the 4 sisters, us, the ZLs, and 2 youth) went and just contacted people in their area for a couple hours.  At the end of the day, they had 36 new investigators, which is unheard of in that area.  The normal is 3 or 4 in a week...and we quadrupled that in a matter of hours.  In total in my district (the three companionships) we found 60 new investigators...more than 7 of the other 11 zones (A zone usually has between 14-24 missionaries, and finds 40 or so new investigators).  In other words, we killed it this week.  

Monday and Tuesday were pretty normal days in the work, we had an FHE with president and his daughter happened to have 4 friends over, so we took advantage of the opportunity and taught a little there, and one of them (Victoria se llama) showed up to church on Sunday.  Wednesday we were in Leones, I assigned one of the sisters to give the training based on the scripture in Matthew 16:24-26. Then the splash, which was a huge success, and showed everybody just how much we can do when we put our mind to it and have the right attitude.  Thursday and Friday was more work in our area.  Thursday I had to have a root canal...remember the molar that broke about 6 months ago?  It had started bugging me again, and I went to get it checked out, and they "operated" then and there, supposedly it was pretty serious.  I would explain it to y’all, but the truth is I can only explain it in Spanish, seeing as I had never had a root canal before in the states.  But the molar had 3 "conductos" and one of them started gushing out blood and wouldn't was a long 2 hours at the dentist office.  No pain meds, and they barely gave me anesthesia, hurt like heck during it. And my face still hurts, but no pain, no gain!  

Saturday morning I got a phone call telling me that I needed to travel to Bellville to do a baptismal interview for one of the ZL's investigators.  Antonella, mother of 3, super prepared, it was a really fun baptismal interview.  She knew everything, and had a testimony of every principle that we talked about.  She was baptized yesterday in the tarde.  Sunday we taught the 3rd hour lesson, on the Area Plan, which is a focus on The Sabbath Day, Self Reliance, and the Temple.  Then we had a surprise visit from a member of the 70 to our branch!  Elder Romeu from Buenos Aires, an area 70, came to talk to the youth specifically but ended up giving a charla to everybody, based on a few principles in For the Strength of Youth (language, music, friendships, etc.). It was only about an hour long and the left to go to one of the other branches, but it was cool to have a surprise visit.  Not quite like having the President of the Quorum of the 12 like y’all had at home, but still! Sounds like a pretty fun packed weekend. Alma 5 and 7 are packed full of good stuff.  

This is the last week of the transfer, they will call us on Saturday night.  Almost 100% sure that I am gone, already have 4 months in the area, and only 4 months left in the mission, probably headed to my last area.  Crazy how time flies!

Love y’all, keep on keeping on!

Elder Mangum