Monday, September 28, 2009

News from a new location in Argentina

Hey fam-

Greetings from Junín de los Andes! The place is pretty beautiful...I feel at home amongst the mountains and such. It's nice to be here. I've gotten a better-looking area with each transfer! Wahoo!

The last few days in Allen were heart-wrenching! It was SO hard to leave that place. We had a constant stream of teary goodbyes and hugs. It was really hard to leave all my converts and members there. I have had a ton of good memories there, and I was sure to take a ton of pictures with everyone. I also carried around my ´memories book´ for everyone to sign. My favorite entry is from Leo, the Marquez's cat, who taped a picture of himself in and wrote ´now I don't have to hide myself when Elder Jensen comes over´ haha. I liked pulling his tail or doing mean things like that.

On Monday night, we went and had 2 citas with our investigators and the hermanas so they could meet them and such. They went well, and I am confident the hermanas will be fine with those two. One of them got baptized yesterday. I wish I could have been there so bad!! We then went to the Etchegoray´s house (Christian) and they were really sad we were leaving. We have made a real big impact on them, and especially on their menos activo parents. It rips me apart because there are going to be 3 more baptisms out of that house this transfer! I just hope they send me the pictures... those lucky hermanas picked up an incredible area.

On Tuesday, we went and met two of our other fechas with the hermanas, and one of them I am certain is going to fall with them, but the other won't. We then went and cleaned up the house and our mission finance guy came down to pick up some of the furniture. That was fun... I just love cleaning an apartment where missionaries have lived for 4 years! (note sarcasm). We then went over and had a goodbye lunch with Luis and the hermanas. It was really good—he is talking to his ´wife´and it looks like they'll be getting married before the end of the year. I sure hope so! The guy has read the book of Mormon twice in the past 2.5 months!! It was a teary goodbye with him. He's a guy who has a HUGE testimony of the church. I just hope he gets married and baptized soon! We then went over with the hermanas to Edgardo and his family. We helped lay bricks for a bit with them, then had the goodbye chat. Again, the onions were attacking me as I bore my testimony and read some scriptures that applied to them, like 2 Nephi 31: 19-21, and some stuff in Alma 26. It was really emotional, and they all teared up too, which is funny, because Edgardo is a big tough guy with tats and everything. But I know that I have made a big difference in that home. There are a couple of his brothers that are investigating, and they had tears in their eyes too. Hopefully baptisms will follow. I know that Luis and Edgardo had special relationships with me and I hope neither fall because it's a lot different the relationship they'll have with hermanas. Hermanas just aren't as fun as us! Haha. They also can't climb up the side of a house to lay bricks.

We then went out and said goodbye to the Oñate family, who is so good to the missionaries. They gave us one last big loaf of bread. Yum. Then we trekked on over to see another member family, then Victor Panero, the kid who is my bud here who baptized his mom a while ago, and then we went over to Octavio Moreno's house (our ward mission leader) and had a good farewell there. He was basically my dad there in Allen. He's a good guy. Then we went over to the Marquez home. And then the floodgates opened up. I haven't cried that long in a long long time. It was a really special spirit we felt as we all went around bearing testimony and saying things we've learned one from another. It was filled with tears and fun stories we had. Leo the cat even came and sat on my lap. It was especially hard on the kids- Octavio and Gonzalo. I have really been a father figure to them these past 5 months. Gonzalo signed all his stuff in my book ´your kid rapper in Allen´ Tamara and Christian were also there, and it was just a good positive experience. We are just a big ole family now! It was fun. We took some family pictures and everything. I videoed a lot of it so I could remember all their testimonies and good things and such. It was a tough tough goodbye.

We then came back to the apartment, finished cleaning and packing and such, and Wednesday morning we rolled out, closing that chapter of Jensalonians. I was just excited to get on the bus and sleep!  I had slept about 4 or 5 hours every night for the past 4 nights!

We took a long bus ride over to Junín de los Andes and got here at about 7. Our Branch President was no where to be seen, so we found a phone and called the zone leaders and then they sent him. He's a goofy guy who is here with his family of 7. He drove us over to our apartment; we dropped our stuff and went out to work! Later that night, we leafed through the area book to find....nothing. The place is empty. So, we are starting from scratch. In 3 days, we did 241 contacts. WOW. We found a couple of decent people. We had one really neat experience—

It was cold and snowing. It was 8 at night, and we were looking for a menos activo and it had a house number. We got there and couldn't find the house number. We knocked where I thought it should be and it turns out to be the house but the family doesn't live there. The lady, however, had been listening to the missionaries a year ago and invited us in. We taught lesson one a bit and it went well. Looking at the clock, knowing it was snowing, and wanting to change the area, I felt something special. I whipped out Mosiah 14 where it talks about baptism. We read that, talked about baptism, and put a fecha right there with this lady! Hey-oh! Day 2 whitewashing an area and we put a fecha! That's the way I like to start this place.

We have spent a long long time knocking and finding, and we've knocked literally ¼ of the city in 4 days. Hehe. We did 241 contacts, and taught 14 lessons. Not too shabby for a half week of whitewashing! But it's really an uphill struggle. Our branch pres doesn't have much hope or energy for the work, in church on Sunday (in a small rented house) we had 18 people—us, a high counselor, the Branch President's family of 7, their grandma, and their 7 cousins who were visiting from Chile. Normally, we have 24 they say, but it is bleak. I am 1st counselor in the branch presidency, and also there are only 3 men in the ward—me, my comp, and the branch pres. It's a battle! And to be honest, my patience wore real real thin this weekend. My comp has a lot of struggles still and I lost my patience with it. He just really struggles being a missionary and getting what that means, and I have been real real patient. But I lost that this week. I think it's because I feel like I have been dead alone this past month doing the work, and white washing is something I cannot do alone. I need his help, and so now I am pushing him really hard. Its putting us both at our limits, and sometimes it boils over a bit. I have really really loved training. I honestly love it. But right now, it is a big burden.

We have 4 in our district. The other two are in gorgeous san martin, an hour away. They haven't baptized here or in san martin in a while, so I guess I'm here to help turn that around. We set a lofty baptism goal and are hoping to achieve it. I told them in district meeting ´we are in the most beautiful part of the mission, after meeting you two I know we're the best looking missionaries in the mission, so now its time to put up the best looking numbers in the mission.¨ I'm an artist when it comes to motivational speeches

Church was real good this Sunday. The high counselor gave a talk about pulling out our stumbling blocks, and then in priesthood, he taught about the adversity talk by Pres. Eyring. It was EXACTLY what I needed, and we talked exactly about the problems we were having. It was perfect. I know the spirit helps us, and that church helps us get over our problems. It was perfect.

This place is dead on Jackson Hole Wyoming. Stores and everything. I just hope that we can find the people I know I am here to baptize, and at the same time jump start this sagging branch.

The running back with a line man on his foot crossed the line of scrimmage, but unfortunately it started snowing and the conditions got worse. But, he sees the end zone...

Why do I use football analogies? I'm a soccer player at heart.



PS ´welp` is my form of saying well. Welp, everything is going well. Welp, I'm in Junín now. That sense of the word. 

1 comment:

Der SID said...

elder jensen the mighty, you made more contacts in 3 days then i did my entire mission. bravo