Wednesday, November 5, 2008

News from Argentina

November 3, 2008


Well, it has been a blur of a last 2 weeks since i last wrote!!! so much has happened! my last week in the MTC was filled with fun-- birthday, colonoscopy, sweet devotionals, sad goodbyes. But it was time to go. For sure.

Monday I left bright and early as you know from my itinerary. I landed in Buenos Aires and we kind of just hung out for a while at the Buenos Aires Temple (it was closed for renovations so we couldn't go in. Blast!!!) And then we went to the airport at around 3. Unfortunately, the 4 o'clock flight was cancelled so we just had to sit around and hang out until about 915 when our flight to Neuquen left. It was really fun trying to talk to people in Spanish and actually have them understand us!! We met one guy who is a park city chairlift mechanic and was originally from Neuquen and who was investigating the church pretty seriously. WE talked to him for like 2 hours. He was way cool. We ended up meeting his parents in Neuquen. Good man.

We met Pres. Cook, ate some empanadas and then went to bed on some bunk beds in the mission home. I've never slept so well in my life!!! It was awesome. As you know, I cant really sleep on airplanes, so I had maybe 2 hours of sleep since Monday morning (and that day I barely got any because we got up at 4 and went to bed at like 1230.) The next day, we did some legal stuff and then had a little orientation. We met our trainers (our 1st companions who kind of show us the ropes) Mine is Elder Valencia from Reno, but he was actually born in Peru. But he isn't a native speaker. He is kind of a little bit quiet, but he is smart. He got a 34 on his ACT, so we've taken a guess that we may have the best combined ACT as a companionship on the mission. haha. Hopefully brains will turn into successes together.

I am assigned to the Trelew area. It is a city about half way down in my total mission. I had to take about a 12 hour over night bus ride to get here, but hey I'm here. Our area is ENORMOUS! The rest of the Trelew areas are pretty small, but ours is huge. It's like the city is a hamburger. The buns are divided into 3 or 4 areas each, and ours is the entire meat. It's big and wide. It's the richest area though, so that's nice. We walk 10 or more miles a day (trust me, my pedometer knows :)) but it is good here. We also have the downtown area too.

It's a little tough because we really don't have many people that we are currently teaching. Elder Valencia likes knocking doors, and I think that just stinks to be honest. It doesn't do anything. I've been working really hard to figure out other ways to find because knocking is a waste of time. E. Valencia even said he's never had a baptism from knocking doors.

Missions are tough. I never realized just how hard they are until now. Trying to find people, trying to bring the spirit into their homes, trying to feel the spirit and figure out how it works in me, trying to plan and be efficient. We walk a lot more and teach a lot less than I hoped or thought we would, and that is really discouraging for me. I'm going to work way hard this week to change that.

Spanish wise I am actually not too too bad. People can understand me pretty well, except for the occasional time I say the wrong subject or when I'm asking a question and am not clear and direct. But really my Spanish is ok. Everyone is way impressed with me abilities!

Listening, however, is a different story. They talk so much faster than they did in the US!! haha. And the accent isn't bad. I understand it and can do it. No big deal. But we were at one house and these two girls about my age were just sitting there laughing at me because I was just looking at whoever was talking kind of smiling trying to figure out what they were saying. They made fun of me and were asking me if I was on drugs. Oh well. We're going back there tomorrow and I'm not looking forward to it.

One challenge I am having is getting along with the new way of doing things here. in the MTC we were told not to stay at members houses too long, not to chit chat with investigators too long before we got down to the point and started sharing the gospel. We (well not me because I can't speak Spanish) struggle with that and really need to work on that so that we can work harder and with more people. It's just really hard to figure out how to be a missionary. I know the missionary I want to become and how i want to be, but not very many other missionaries share the same vision because they are too worried about it being too hard or too much work to plan or not fun or basura like that. but each day during planning I'm trying to pipe up and say how I feel about things (like last night--point blank Knocking stinks and is a waste of time. lets find another way to contact)

We've only taught one real lesson since getting here on Thursday(osvoldo). It went pretty good. I did really well at explaining the book of Mormon. But the people didn't drag themselves out of bed the next day to come to church. I've found that the people here are really lazy and not doing stuff almost all day, but some how they are always occupado. always. interesting.

We taught another lesson on Saturday afternoon to a lady (Julia) and really dropped the hammer on her about coming to church and how that would really help her with all the problems she was going through. Early Sunday morning, we got up and went 2 miles away to osvoldo and he was sleeping and then 2 miles back and then out to Julia's and she didn't answer, so disheartened we went to church empty handed. But to our surprise, she showed up like 15 minutes later!! YES! She had been in the shower when we rolled by, so she couldn't answer the door. But a lot of the ladies there talked to her and we think she felt really welcomed. We are going to swing by later tonight or tomorrow to check up on her. Hopefully all is going well!

Other news--we contacted an absolute NUT on Friday. He talked to us for an hour on the street and wouldn't let us say a word or leave. He talked about a flaming sword God had given him and a fiery cart he was baptized in. He tried to get us to come to his house but we were terrified and had a lunch appointment. We swung by the next day and his house was way nice! But he just kept talking and talking about biblical prophets and all this crazy stuff. He was nuts. His wife brought out a 7up and cups and he yelled at her and was like they don't drink 7up! And on the tray the wife brought out there was a knife!!! haha we thought he was going to kill us or something. But we had to leave and invited him to church kind of half heartedly. Well, he showed up! haha. We heard Sunday school was a bit strange, but he talked to me after sacrament meeting and was way normal. it was kind of weird! Maybe he is normal while in church. Anyways... I think we may just kind of avoid him for now.

Its hard being down here and not getting mail on a daily basis! No one here writes letters anymore so I don't know what the best way of doing it is yet. I tried to mail stuff from LA but they didn't have any mailboxes. I'll get some out today, don't worry. Hopefully they'll get there soon! I'm throwing some pictures on here too... give me a sec. The food here is alright. Pizza is good, bread is good, noodles are alright, I've only had a little beef and chicken and they've been alright. Its fun because they all eat huge lunches and then no dinners so I like eating that way because then in just fall into bed and sleep so so so soundly. It's good to get a good night sleep every night.

Sorry I don't have any good pictures of trelew yet... next week I will for sure! it is hot, dry, dusty, dirty, no clouds, and warm borderline hot. So far so good. I'm already working the tan a bit!! haha.

I love you all. Smile!
Elder Taylor Jensen

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