Friday, July 24, 2009

Two weeks of Argentine news

July 13, 2009


Hey Family!

I understand I have a bit bigger audience than normal, so I'm thinking of what I can do to spice this letter up! Unfortunately, Argentines don't like spicy food at all, so I'm struggling to come up with something good!

This week was a good one. We didn't teach quite as much as normal, but that's because we had a Zone conference on Wednesday. It was a good conference. Our new president is a great guy. He is a bit more relaxed than President Cook, but that's alright. It allows us to have a bit of fun as we are learning and putting things in practice. He is going to be a good president and do a lot of good. He was struggling a bit with his Spanish, but I can certainly relate thinking back to my first week here in Argentina! His wife is pretty shy, but they are great.

It's been interesting here with all of this swine flu panic going on. People are still pretty nervous about it. (I still say its just winter, wash your hands!). But people have started walking around with those SARS masks on. I really want to get one, but my companion has made it clear that if I buy it he will be walking on the other side of the street from me. Maybe I'll get it to get some alone time.

This Saturday, Victor baptized his mom. It was a very tender service—she has been waiting 8 years to get baptized, and was very excited to do it. Afterwards, she bore a very sweet testimony, and she is very excited to go to the temple with Victor to do the temple work for her husband. I know that that will be a very special experience.

Sunday was a good day. We were able to have church (we have been telling all the missionaries and members and investigators to pray for it, and we were able to have the sacrament meeting) It was a very good testimony meeting. Tamara got up and bore her testimony, and it was really good to hear from her. It was her first testimony meeting since being baptized, and I continue to marvel how prepared she was to meet us and accept the gospel in her life. She now leaves with the hermanas 2 days a week, and we call her to go to a few appointments with us. This week, she has basically lived at the Marquez house. I think she slept there 3 nights this week. It's been great for them to form this friendship, because there aren't many youth in the church here in Allen. She has been great in helping Octavio as new member, and in helping nurture Karen and Gonzalo as they prepare for their own baptisms. Gonzalo is in a state of flux right now. He hasn't decided if he wants to get baptized now or not. Its a bit tough for me because I know he has felt the spirit and I know he knows its true. We'll keep working with him.

On Saturday, we went to the church again to cut branches on the trees. It was great—we had Juan Carlos and Gonzalo. Its funny to see them together. To be honest, Juan Carlos is a strange man, and Gonzalo is a bit of a strange 16 year old, and some how they have forged a strange friendship and Gonzalo is always excited to go and work when Juan Carlos is there. But, a friend is a friend, and we're hoping that this will help Gonzalo as he decides when he gets baptized.

Tamara is doing great—she has the relief society lesson this coming Sunday (we're crossing our fingers that we're having the 3 hours next Sunday!). Juan Carlos is doing alright. He's come a long way since his baptism. The man has a lot of energy to work. Unfortunately, he has not received the priesthood yet because our ward leader went on a 4 week vacation and he still needs to be taught a little bit more.

It's been a full week because with our ward leader out of town for a month, I've assumed a lot of the responsibility here in the ward. Assigning talks, doing tithing, and directing the meetings are the basics. But it puts a little bit more on my shoulders in addition to training and being a district leader. But as more is on my shoulders, the stronger they get!

Yesterday, we were out working and we ran out of stuff to do about a half an hour before our next appointment. I say ´companion. Where are we off to?´ He says ´lets just go close to the next cita and find some people to teach.´  So off we go. About the 6th house, we were greeted by a little kid who said hi elders! Come in! We hesitantly stepped through the door and found it was the house of one of the members of our ward and it was her grandson who opened the door. He says ´did you come here to teach me so I can get baptized? ´ hesitantly, knowing it was too good to be true, we said yes… and he said perfect. He was going to have an interview with our ward leader to get baptized, but the ward leader went out of town (and it's a missionary interview because he is 9). So now we have 2 baptisms planned for the 1st of august. Putzer—I know you are turning 18 (wow are you serious) that day, so I am 16 baptisms short of getting 18 haha. But that was a fun experience, and I'd like to have that happen more when we go out finding new people.

Edgardo is going great. He finished 2nd nefi this week and is just cruising. He told us—elders. I have to read 300 pages in 3 weeks, so that's 100 a week, so that's about 14 a day. I'm going to do it! We are so proud of him. It's really been a 180 degree turn around that we've seen in his life. Its great being a missionary!

With much love!
Elder Taylor Jensen


July 20, 2009


Hi Family!

It's been an interesting week. I was going through a bit of a slump. Doing divisions with an elder in Roca who is not doing well didn't help, neither did cold weather or rain. But—I have come out of it, thanks to a good chat with my comp where we decided the only way to get out was to work and love working. We started with a game—don't make the same contact twice in the same day (it's hard when you are doing more than 154 every week). If you do, you have to buy a couple penny candies for your comp. That was fun. And it helped us have a good day. And then the next day, also a tough day, was better because we were smiling. And ever since that Thursday, me and my comp have become the best of friends. It really really helps working and doing this work when there is a good relation between you and your companion. Contention is of the devil and drives away the spirit like none other. I always talk about that when I do interviews with my district, and me and my companions never have really had contention problems, but we've never been the best of friends till now. And it makes it a blast to go and work.

This coming Saturday, Karen Marquez is going to be baptized. We're really excited. She (as have the others I've baptized) has developed a testimony of the church. She has prayed to know if the church is true and if the book of Mormon is true, and has received a miraculous response. It's really a blast to work with people and see that as they do what we ask them to, that they receive responses. We've seen it happen with Octavio. With Edgardo. Even little 9 year old Mariono has been reading and praying. Its great having people doing what is asked and receiving the blessings.

I guess I got a testimony and went off on that schpeel because I went to Roca to do 3 interviews this Saturday. We were supposed to have one at 9 and the other two at 12. We had a whacky day and had the 2 at 130 and the other at about 445. I didn't get back to my area till 630! Not good, especially since Saturday is our day to get people to church. I think the Lord knew our intentions and blessed us because we worked hard in Roca doing contacts and teaching with the other elders because we had 6 in church yesterday. But- it was an interesting day for me. I didn't pass 2 of the interviews, and it was one of the hardest things to do for me. So much of missionary work is baptize, baptize, baptize, so when you take someone to an interview you have it in mind that they'll pass. It's almost like it's assumed. I don't like it, but it happens. But these two...I just couldn't! And it was even harder because they were from the 2 elders that are really struggling in my district. But, I told them what they could do to help get these two kids ready and we are going to try again in a couple of weeks. It was difficult for me, but I went back into the room after the interviews to think and I prayed long and hard and definitely got an answer through the spirit. It was a really neat experience.

Today we woke up and gave our house a good cleaning. It hasn't been cleaned since we painted, so there was still paint on the floor and dirt everywhere. It was gross. But now we've got it all cleaned out and ready to feel the spirit again! Haha. But we also reorganized all the furniture. And by furniture, I mean our bunks and closets. It's a change, at least!

It's raining here and it's gotten cold cold cold. I now wear thermals underneath the suit and a hat and gloves every day. I cut my hair short so I can wear a hat without having the nasty hat head afterwards too. Except now I sleep with a hat because my head is cold. In other news, I played with an armadillo this week. That was fun too!
We're looking forward to this week. We are going to hit the standard again. It's really really hard to do, but after how we felt last week, we're ready to do something great. We've got our house reorganized and ready to do it, we've just bought our food and are going to eat super healthy this week, and we've both cut our hair. Everything is in line to have a great week with a lot of success.

Mama- I got your package too!!! Thanks!!!! I'm really really excited to have some root beer. And rice crispy treats. And fruit snacks. And hot tamales. Yum!

Thanks for everything!


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