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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Transfers

Beloved friends, family, and other random people,

This week went well. It was nice to see the fam on the webcam, even
though it was a rather slow connection. My nieces and nephews are
getting huge!! Crazy. This week was the week of transfers... and I
have some crazy news.... Not. I'm still in Constitucion! Hahaha.
Surprise. Elder Ramey left though. He was made zone leader somewhere
else. My new comp's name is Elder Mohulamu. Yup. He is Tongan.
Hahaha. He is going to teach me how to speak Tongan. Haha.
Epicness. Love it. He seems to be a baller (right Josh??) and I am
looking forward to keep helping the ward here. President Gulbrandsen
called us last night to tell Elder Ramey he was leaving and he said
something like, "I know Elder Trayner has been there for 6 months, but
he is baptizing more than anyone else in the mission, so there is no
point in taking him out." It was a nice compliment and I think it is
a good thing to get a new comp to have some new blood and energy in
the area. I'm excited to make the best out of this transfer. I love
all you guys and hope you had a great Christmas and that you have a
happy new year! Oh. P.S. I got packages from Nana and Grandma
today!!! Thank you so much!!! It means a lot to me. I also received
a letter from Charity and from the ward. Tell them thank you if you
see them and that I love them and hope the best for them and their
families! Love you all!

Until next week

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pictures from the baptisms of Milagros and Lautaro


¡Feliz Navidad! The Baptisms of Milagros and Lautaro San José

¡Hola Todos!

¡Feliz Navidad! Err... Merry Christmas! Haha. Hope you all are
doing quite well this fine day and this fantastic week. This week I
have a very special update that I have forgotten to give every other
time before. Since I started the mission I have been keeping track of
how many red heads and how many nuns I have seen. This week I will
reveal the numbers and who is winning. And the results of this year-
24 red heads and 11 nuns!!! The red heads win!!! Haha. They
actually aren't too rare here because a lot of the people here are of
European decent and are white. As for the nuns, they were hanging in
there, but then it got hot and I've only seen one since then. Crazy.
Well, hope you all enjoyed that bit of randomness...

This past week we ended up having 2 baptisms in 2 baptismal services!
Milagros Povea (her name means miracles, it really was a miracle...)
and then we had to have another service right after for Lautaro San
José because he couldn't make it earlier. It was pretty crazy, and we
were really happy with all the support the ward gave us and those that
were baptized. Milagros was baptized by her husband Amaru and Lautaro
by his friend's dad, Abel. It was awesome. Milagros shared her
testimony and it was so powerful. She said how she had finally found
happiness in her life and in her family and how happy she was to
finally complete her family. It was awesome. It was also really good
with Lautaro and his Mom. His mom said she didn't really understand
why her son wanted to do it, but she said he was happy and so she
would support it. She came to the baptism and it looks like she
really felt the spirit and so we will have to follow up with that.

In other news, we had a zone conference yesterday and it was awesome.
We went to the mission home and they talked a lot about working with
members and it was really something that we feel we can put into
practice and get results. We also did a white elephant and I ended up
with a new tie. Bonus. Other bonuses of the week- we scheduled our
Christmas lunch with Hugo and Miriam Robledo and their family (love
it). And our other lunches are with other ballers in the ward, so we
are pretty pumped about our lunch situation this week. Other news-
transfers are next week, but President really really emphasized how
there aren't going to be changes this time so who knows, maybe I'll
just be in Constitucion my whole mission. Haha. Bonus. In other
random news... we get to do our Christmas phone call by Skype (web
cam) and so that ought to be somethin neat. Oh- We'll see if I can
get the pictures from the baptism uploaded but it's not looking like
it, cuz the computer is being dumb, but if I can I'll put them this
week, but if I don't, remind me next week. What else... I hear Nicole
is back?? Nuts, swear we both just left. Haha. Also... our
apartment is now at an average temperature of 84... suffering...
Haha. Oh well. As for this week's baptismal prospects- we have to
make sure Yarine Cordova really doesn't have a church record and then
we'll have just a private and small baptismal service because she
really is a member, but somehow her record is lost. But we are going
to make sure it really is lost first so we'll see if she gets baptized
again this week. Weird, right? Oh well, it's just like the
Sacrament, but more. Haha... I guess I didnt put what happened with
Maria and Katy. Dumb. So we prepared them really well for everything
and then they went to their interviews in the church on Thursday and
passed. So we're filling out the records and then they started saying
how they changed their mind and that they either wanted more time to
get to know the ward here (because they had gone to another ward
before) or they wanted to get baptized in that ward.... DUMB. We
couldn't resolve the doubt, and they wouldn't commit to coming to
church on Sunday, it was a disaster. But they did come to the baptism
(the whole family minus the brother) and thoroughly enjoyed them both.
So surely they will be baptized, but we'll see when.

Well that is all for this week! Looks like the pictures won't send so
I'll try to send them next week. I love you all very much and I hope
you all have a very merry Christmas! Do some good in the world!!
Haha. Eat enough casserole to cover me and looks like I'll see you
guys (the fam) on Christmas! Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pictures from the baptism of Jose Robledo and some random ones from
the Bishop's family. Enjoy!





Monday, December 6, 2010

Yet another update from Constitucion

Hola mis queridos amigos y hermanos y etc...

This week was a week that almost didn't turn out very well. Haha. We were really struggling until Saturday when we had an above average day and then yesterday (Sunday) we had an excellent day, although we had an average amount of investigators in church. Key events... we found a man named Ruben on Saturday and he came to church yesterday and said he had read and the only let down was that he hadn't prayed. He really enjoyed church and the best part is that he has a normal schedule. Haha. He is a really good guy and in the first lesson he even agreed to postpone his trip to Cordoba to be with his family a few days to be baptized, as long as he receives an answer before hand of course. Also Wendy and her mom Nelly came to church again, we are still trying to work with them so they can be baptized the end of the month too. Then... On Sunday we returned to a family that we visited last transfer one time because the daughter was going to another ward with her cousin, but they weren't ready to progress so we left them. The cousin ended up getting baptized a week ago and we heard the girl in our area went, so we went to visit them again. Turns out the twin sister starting going to church a few weeks ago at the other ward and likes it and that the mom went to her niece's baptism and loved it. So they were all really good and agreed to come to our church, but they said they are leaving this next weekend (of course...). The dad and the brother (21) are still a bit rough, but I know if they just do the things we tell them to do that they will be able to feel the same as the women in the family. Then we also visited Familia Cordova (remember? My first baptism??) and spoke with all the family. It was really good because the bishop and his wife were just leaving when we
arrived. The dad was a lot more acceptive this time and the mother got emotional and started crying talking about how her son recently left to Bolivia and how her husband has never participated, and it really helped him to see the importance of having the family united in
the church. He agreed to search out a solution with his store to be able to come to church, or at least rotate with his wife every other week (although we told him that kind of defeated the purpose...), but at least he is a lot more open now. The girls (the 4 that we baptized
and one older) are all doing really well and the older girl is an excellent influence and example in the family. We are excited to help them. We left him with the homework of reading a chapter in the BoM and praying. In other news, the dad of familia Povea (remember? We baptized little Raul and Nicole??) is progressing now and he is going to baptize his mom who lives in another ward next week!!! He is really excited and I think it will really help his wife (Milagros) to
open up and finally accept the invitation to be baptized. We'll see.

Hmmm... What else.... today we are going to play basketball with a bunch of ballers, the young men of the ward. Haha. First time I've played sports since the MTC, finally!!! We never do anything on p day. Haha. Anyways, should be fun.... welp... not much else to say... Haha. I love you all! Hope you're doing well and gettin all decked out for Christmas, the people here don't do much it looks like... at least so far. Love!

Monday, November 29, 2010

A week of Thanks, Thanksgiving week

Hola todos,

Not too much to say again this week... Our investigators are all progressing pretty slow right now so we are trying to find new ones, but it's not too easy. Haha. As for the events of the past week- Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving our member that was going to give us lunch completely forgot so we just bought a pizza and I also made peanut butter cookies from the mix that mom sent me. So it was decent. Nobody knew it was Thanksgiving though. Just me and Elder Ramey knew. Haha. What else... Not much... It's still really hot here and I hear it gets a little hotter still so that should be fun. Welp. Let me know if I can answer any questions or anything because I don't have too much to say... Haha. I love you all and it sounds like you had a good Thanksgiving. I really am really thankful for the influences each and every one of you has had in my life. Thank you for being the examples that you are. Love! Keep safe!

Monday, November 22, 2010

ConstiCity

Sup ya'll,

Another week went by rapidly here in ConstiCity. This week Kim and
Carla were confirmed, but other than that we weren't too terribly
successful. Pretty much all of our baptism dates had to be changed
because they didn't come to church so this week we really need to find
a lot of new good investigators and to get everyone else to come.
Yup. I don't really have much to say today... This past week was
kind of rough because I found out another one of my friends is back
home from the mish and also I've just been feeling really pressured
with our goal and just with everything here, but I'll be fine. :) I
hear Bingham won state. Que capos (what studs). I also hear the Jazz
are doing well? Nice. And a BYU come back season?? Who knows.
Sounds pretty crazy. Anyways, for the family members that weren't
able to write me- I still love you all and I look forward to hearing
from you guys next week. Anddddd.... yup. Nothing else to really
tell you guys. Love! Read the Book of Mormon (Did anyone take my
challenge???)!! Thank you all for the difference that each one of you
has made in my life. Eat double turkey to count for me! Hasta luego.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Baptism of Carla Ruiz and (Taehoon) Kim




Hola todos!

This past week was... interesting. Haha. We ended another transfer
and it looks like I'm going to be here for another while longer. This
is good because we are trying to achieve 30 baptisms in the ward for
the year and we're at 24. We're doing our best to prepare our
investigators that we have now and to do everything we can so the Lord
can provide a miracle here. It would be a miracle because the ward
goal for the year was 10 because the previous past 2 years combined of
baptisms added up to less than 10... So this year has been an amazing
year for the ward.

Events of the week---

1. We moved!
This past week on Monday night we found out that we were going to move
the next morning. Haha. It was interesting. The whole ward was in
fiasco and president got involved and who knows what else to get us
out of where we were to where we are now. So we don't live in the
plaza anymore and we're actually living in the area of La Boca. There
are a lot of Jews and it is really laid back and peaceful. A lot
different. Haha. Anyways, the move totally affected the whole week
and we were almost disabled by it. It was lame. It took us all day
Tuesday and then we had to organize Wednesday because we had just
dropped everything wherever on Tuesday... and then we went out and
worked and came back and organized more and then it carried into
Thursday. It was laaaaame. But the week was saved by event number 2.

2. The Baptism of Carla Ruiz and (Taehoon) Kim
On Saturday, just before the leadership training for the Stake (we had
stake conference) we had the baptisms of Carla and Kim. It was one of
the most special services yet, the Spirit was really strong. Carla
chose me to baptize her and Elder Ramey to confirm her. So anyways, I
guess I'll go from the beginning of last week. Ok. Carla came to
church 9 days ago and it was her 3rd time to church (you have to go 3x
before being baptized) and she loved it and made friends with our
amazing relief society president (Hna. Pareja) so the bishop announced
a baptism in Sacrament with Kim not being sure and Carla not knowing
(she was impossible to find sometimes) and so Hna. Pareja asked Carla
if she was going to be baptized while we were right there and she said
no and so we asked her why not? and she thought about it and agreed.
We talked a little more and set up an appointment during the week.
Then with Kim- we had talked to him just before Sacrament meeting and
he said he wasn't sure. After Sacrament meeting he came up to us and
asked us what time he needed to be there on Saturday. Such a Capo
(stud or if you don't like that word... boss??). Anyways, so we go to
the appointment with Carla on Tuesday and ring her doorbell (cuz she
lives in our old building and so we used to be able to just go by...)
and nobody answers. So we went by wednesday and thursday with no
answer.... Until her husband walked up (he wasn't baptized because he
can't go to church because he works) and he said, ¨I don't know if my
wife is here but our doorbell is broken.¨ ---No way!!!! Haha. So
lame. So we went up with him and she was confused why we hadn't come
by and we had to explain that we had moved so we could only ring the
doorbell. It appeared Satan was trying quite hard. So we had to
teach her a lot of things, but she accepted everything and we reviewed
the baptismal interview questions and she said she was ready. We told
her we would come by the next night to accompany her to the interview.
So the next night we go by and we arrived about 10 minutes late and
she was sitting on the step outside her building. She got up and told
us that she didn't feel ready to be baptized.......!!!!!! So we had
to talk to her for about 20 minutes outside the building and she
finally agreed to go grab her son and then we took a taxi to the
interview. So she entered her interview (it was with Elder Denton who
is from South Jordan as well- he is one of my zone leaders) and he
came out (because she had to do a part with Pres. Gulbrandsen over the
phone) and he told us she came in and said, ¨I don't want to be
baptized, I'm not ready for this week. Maybe in a couple more weeks.
I didn't tell them this but all of my friends are telling me the Book
of Mormon was written by Joseph Smith and then I started to doubt and
then I just got really nervous last night and couldn't sleep- I'm not
going to be baptized this week.¨ ---Crazy right?--- But Elder Denton
told us that he read a couple scriptures with her and that everything
ended up being fine and she accepted to be baptized the next day.
Then in the meantime, our other Zone leader (Elder Smith) interviewed
Kim and said he was probably the most prepared person he has ever
interviewed (Elder Smith is about to finish the mission). It made us
quite proud of him. Then on Saturday, both of them showed up super
early (before us) and were excited. So finally all the members
arrived and we started the service. Then when it was time for the
baptisms I entered first with Carla, and she was already crying. I
then baptized her and when she came up she was just crying and it was
just a special moment where we felt the Spirit really strong. Then
Kim was baptized by Hno. Chavez (kim is a family friend). When we all
were changed and back we gave them the opportunity to share their
testimonies and Carla said she felt something inside and that all the
pain that she had held onto in her life had left her. Her testimony
was so strong. Then Kim went up and shared his testimony and he
shared a story about faith (something about a barber saying God
doesn't exist and the moral ended up being how only those that search
God find him.) and his testimony and my favorite part was when he said
¨I've been searching for God for a long time, I'm happy to say that my
search has finally ended.¨ It was an amazing service. And of course
the cakes were delicious afterwards.

Anyways, the suuuuper long story was for Josh (he complained there
weren't enough stories), but I hope you all enjoyed it. Haha. Yup.
That's what happened this week. Unfortunately we don't have any
baptisms planned this week and our investigators that had a date for
next week didn't come to church so we'll see what happens. Anyways, I
hope you all are doing well. I enjoyed reading your updates. I hope
at least one of you took my challenge to read the Book of Mormon
before Christmas!! Anyways, I love you all. Keep it real and
hopefully I'll be able to send the pics of the baptism in a separate
email in a sec, and if not then I'll send them next week.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A week of preparation

Hello everyone!

This week went well. We found a lot of people who have been prepared
by the Lord. After the Church meeting we spoke with 2 people, Kim and
also Carla. Kim is from Korea and moved here about 5 years ago and is
going to head back in January. We talked to him after Sacrament
meeting and he wants to be baptized! Then we talked to Carla (a
peruvian lady that lives above us in our building) and she also said
she wants to be baptized this week. It was awesome and they both
stayed to watch a baptism of the son of a member family and Carla
loved it. After watching the ordinance I asked her her feelings and
she basically said, it's amazing. It's just something you just feel
here (with her hand over her heart). It was a special moment.
Unfortunately her husband works a 24 hour shift on Saturday night
until Sunday night so he can't be baptized because he can't come to
church, but he is also reading the Book of Mormon. They also have 3
children and 2 from their marriage but they are like 7 and 2. They
are an awesome family and we are really excited for her baptism on
Saturday and also for Kim. Anyways, this week is the last week of the
transfer so if I don't write Monday it is because I got transferred,
but I think I'll stay here. We'll see.

Anyways, Dad asked me to try and describe my area a little better so
I'll just copy what I said to him...

Uh... more about my area??? I don't know what else to say about it.
We live in front of one of the biggest train stations in Argentina???
And it is also a main bus stop as well as
subway. It's how everyone travels to the south of Buenos Aires. In
my area there really are 4 different areas really.

We have Constitucion, which is the station and the surrounding
area.... It is really old and supposedly somewhat dangerous, but it is
mostly just really.... dirty. Haha. We are going to move soon to
improve the surrounding area of our apartment and because someone (the
bishop's son) is going to move in where we are living. There are a
lot of "Hotels" like I've described before as well. Recently they
took out half the area of Constitucion and gave it to another ward.
Luckily it was probably the dirtiest area. Haha.

Then there is Barracas, on the main street it is pretty nice with a
lot of shops and tall buildings. Then in other parts it is smaller
and kind of suburby for Buenos Aires. LIke 3 story buildings all the
way down the street full of apartments.... ish. Haha. But there are
a lot less people in the streets and there are a lot of factories and
stuff.

Then there is the other part of Barracas which is the Villa or the
ghetto. Villa 21(24) is what it is called according to those that
live there. Supposedly we can't (literally wouldn't be able) enter
according to our recent convert over there, but it isn't too
dangerous, but we only go during the day mostly. They are just houses
that the people build themselves with orange blocks and concrete.
Most don't have floors or anything. Yeah, I'll try to get a picture
of the areas one day or something....

Then the last one is a smaller area where there isn't much work called
San Telmo. It is the most peaceful area in our area. There are a few
hotels but it is mostly a nicer place and it is somewhat historic and
there is a little bit of tourism. Yup.

Well that descibes decently well the different areas... you'd have to
ask me more specific questions to get a more specific answer haha. I
guess I'll throw out what I make for breakfast or dinner/snack.... In
the morning I usually eat cereal (super expensive but oh well) or they
sell dough to make basically simple scone type things and so I eat
those a lot too with Dulce de leche. And sometimes if I have a lot
of time I'll make ham and cheese empanadas. Also, I have lately been
a fan of making a smoothie deal of 2 bananas, ice, milk, and a bunch
of dulce de leche. Then at night... I eat some cookies or oreos....
or one of those things I eat for breakfast. Haha. With Elder
Fernandez we ordered empanadas a lot more often but lately the price
went up and Elder Ramey doesn't like to order things.

Welp. It's been super hot here lately. Luckily it has been raining
today. Haha. What else.... I saw a sign today saying harry potter
is coming out... Lammmmme..... Haha. Oh well. Let me know how it
is. Anyways.... I don't know what else to say. Let me know if you
have and questions for me. I love you all! Keep safe!

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Baptism of José Robledo!!

Hola todos.

Another good week in ConstituZion. Haha. This week we had the
baptism of Hugo Robledo's father- José. It was crazy. We told them
we were going to do the interview Friday at 6 UNLESS we called. Then
on Friday we called Hugo and he said he told his dad that we must not
be having the interview because we hadn't called. Anyways, we
couldn't ever find him and then Saturday he (José) was upset about
what happened and he didn't even want to leave his house (he is really
old and has a lot of pains and he has epilepsy...). We had to talk to
him for a bit (keep in mind this is at 4 30 when the baptism was
scheduled at 6 with our mission President, President Gulbrandsen
coming at 5....) about all the blessings and everything and what had
happened the day before and so in the end he agreed to come. He then
had his interview with President but President wasn't too impressed
with José even though he passed and he said we have to take good care
of him and stuff. That was kind of lame. But José wanted to be
baptized and in the end he was baptized by Hugo. Unfortunately
because of us being super stressed, I forgot to take my camera to the
baptism. However, the bishop´s wife says she should be able to get
them to me sometime.... I hope soon... Then on Sunday he came nice
and early to church and was confirmed. Unfortunately we had only 1
investigator in church. It was bad. However, this investigator is
named Kim (technically that is his last name.... his real name is
Taehoon...) and we met him the week before at church because he is a
friend of a family here in the ward (Flia. Chavez). He is an amazing
kid. He is from Korea and he is 18. He has a date to be baptized
next week and he is progressing really fast and he loves the church.
Unfortunately he basically lives alone because his parents are in
Korea and he lives here with his uncle and aunt. I love teaching
people that are smart and understand!!! Haha. It's true though. I
very much prefer (excluding families) to teach young people around 18.
They just get it. Haha. Anyways, studly. As I said, it was very
unfortunate that we only had one in the church because we had a lady
that was going to be baptized this week but she didn't come so she'll
have to wait another week. Anyways, we found another couple families
this week and ended up with 10 new investigators (which still isn't
very many... but at least they are good ones). Anyways, our goal now
is to get 8 more baptisms before the end of the year because we have
22 in the year so far and the ward goal was 10. So we are aiming to
triple the goal (The 2 past years they had 5 baptisms each). So the
ward is really excited and everything is changing around here.

Anyways, hearing about snowfall and skiing made me pretty sad this
week. Haha. And a lot of other noticias malas (bad news). But it
sounds like at least all of you are living. Yesterday in church we
were all combined for preisthood with the relief society and we talked
about service and forgetting ourselves. I loved it. I especially
loved what the Bishop's wife wrote on the board towards the end. It
said, "A boy sat in his house and cried because he didn't have shoes,
he went out to the street and saw a man without feet." My spiritual
upliftment this week is to encourage all of you to really look at what
you have. Sometimes I wish everyone could come to Argentina or some
other part of the world and see how it is and they would realize that
we almost never have reason to complain. The Lord blesses us so much
and yet we look for what we lack. Anyways, I wish I could look up
Pres. Monson's talk, but I can't. But I would recommend reviewing
Pres. Monson's conference address. Being here in Argentina, and more
specifically, here in Constitución has really made me so much more
grateful for what I have. Here we have lots of hotels where 6 or more
people live in one tiny room and they are often too embarrassed to let
us as missionaries enter. They also share a bathroom which is just a
room with a toilet and a water spout from the wall with a drain in the
floor. They also share one kitchen for around 40 inhabitants for each
kitchen. We might cry that we don't have a new TV or a car. Those
things are dreams for most people here. As well, we have the villa or
the ghetto. People construct their own houses and their is always
violence. A lot of people live in fear. Anyways, just some things
that have really made me think here and maybe will help you all to
take a look around at what you have. I love you all so very much. I
hope you are all happy and safe. I hope you are living the gospel of
Jesus Christ, because it really is the only path of happiness and the
only way to live with God again one day. I love you all. Keep safe.
:)

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Baptism of Susana Estigarribia!!

Hola.

Another week goes by here in Constitución. This week we had the
baptism of Susana Estigarribia, it went really well. Included are the
picture from her baptism and also from the wedding and baptism of Hugo
and Miriam Robledo with their 3 children and Elder Fernandez with
Nahuel. This Saturday we are having a special baptismal service where
all of the people who have been baptized into the church this year (23
ish) are going to come and also President Gulbrandsen. The ward is
super excited because last year they had 5 baptisms and the year
before that they had 5 as well. The ward goal for baptisms this year
was 10 so we've already doubled it and we are going for the triple.
It's awesome. . . Oh my goodness I was so thankful this past week
because Milagros Povea finally recognized the answer that she has
always had that the Book of Mormon is true. She will be baptized this
week along with Hugo's dad, José. Hugo will perform the ordinance
(Que Capo). Also this week we entered into another large "hotel" (if
you don't remember they are just the large buildings with tons of
rooms and a couple shared bathrooms and a shared kitchen) and we
received all the names of everyone (almost) that lives there.
Hopefully this week we will be able to teach a lot of them and get
them to come to church. We've set up appointments with most of them
and one family has actually heard the missionaries before so I'm
praying that we will have success. The investigators that we gain
this week can be baptized at the end of this transfer so it is
important that we have a good finding week. Unfortunately, Wednesday
is the census here so we can't leave our house until we are counted
and we can't knock any door whatsoever unless we have an appointment.
Go figure. So Wednesday looks to be less productive. Oh well. Haha.

Anyways, sounds like you're all well. Or at least those that wrote
me. Haha. Also I received mail this week cuz pres. came to do
interviews and I received only one letter and it was from the ward
back home. Hahaha. Oh well. Love you all. It's probably cuz I
don't have very much time at all to write like anyone. Lame. So Josh
tell the ward thanks again. Saved me from the embarrassment of not
receiving any letters. Haha. Anyways, I don't have much else to
say... Enjoy the pictures and let me know if you have any questions or
anything. ¡¡Les amo!! ¡¡¡Lea El Libro de Mormon!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

UPDATED INFO ON SENDING ZACH PACKAGES

To the families of our missionaries:

The Argentine postal service will no longer let us, as office workers, sign for and claim packages that are sent to your missionary. The person to whom the package is addressed has to show his or her passport and sign for the package in order for it to be claimed.

In order for your missionary to receive a package from home, it will have to be addressed to Sister Gulbrandsen. She can claim the package with her passport and signature. This will require that the missionary’s name appear in the return address area so we will know who is to receive the package.

We have several packages waiting to be picked up, and if the missionary to whom it is addressed cannot arrange his time to come claim the package himself it will be returned to the sender. Packages that have been sent to missionaries serving in Rio Gallegos, Rio Grande, and Tierra del Fuego will unfortunately be returned as they cannot fly here to retrieve their packages.

We are so sorry for this inconvenience to you and to your missionary. We have made efforts to resolve this issue with the postal service, but they will not alter the rule for us. So, beginning immediately, we ask that you address your packages as follows, noting that the name of the missionary needs to be listed in the return address.


John Doe (Elder James Brown)

Street address

City, and State





Sister Karen Gulbrandsen

Argentina Buenos Aires North Mission

Gral. Lavalle 1828

1646 San Fernando

Buenos Aires

ARGENTINA

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter and we are sorry for those packages that will be returned to sender. Please inform all family and friends of this new development.

Thank You,

Sister Kroff
Secretary
Argentina Buenos Aires North Mission

Monday, October 18, 2010

General update #....mucho

Hello all.

This week was... interesting. Our 2 baptisms both bailed. Satan really worked hard on them and they weren't strong enough I suppose. Jorge was told by the people where he lives that he would get kicked out if he was baptized and so he backed out and Susana lost her job and is kind of depressed now. Lame. However, next week we have a sure baptism. The father of Hugo named José. He is a good guy and he has accepted everything. We are preparing Hugo to baptize his father. it is awesome. This week we are hoping to get the mother of Raul and Nicole baptized on Saturday. We challenged her last week and she accepted, we'll have to see if she read what we left. Anyways, not too much else about investigators, we need lots of new investigators really bad....

Also this past week- we had a multi zone conference with Elder Arnold of the 70. He is the Area President in the South America South Area. It was amazing and I loved all the changes he presented to the mission and the new focuses on things that we already knew but maybe weren't doing before. Awesome. He was a really powerful speaker and he added more to his conference talk and it was incredible.

This week I also was able to get to know my comp a little better and his style and tendencies. I have decided it is a little bit of a challenge to get him to work as hard with my as I worked with Elder Fernandez. It is hard for me to take the first step in doing some things just because I don't speak as well but I've really taken the initiative since Elder F. left. I just need to be an example in more things, but it is hard when there are so many things to remember. Haha. Oh well. Hopefully we'll be able to work a lot harder this next week. I'm gonna do my best, I know there are people waiting for me for me to open my mouth. Anyways, I love you all. Have a good week and I'll send the pictures of Hugo next week because I can't in this internet place. Read the scriptures and pray always! Love.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Marriage and Baptism of Hugo and Miriam Robledo

Hello everyone!!

Sorry for the lack of length last week. It was crazy. We had the wedding of Hugo and Miriam Robledo. We arrived too late for the wedding, which was pretty lame, but here it's like just signing some papers and kissing so whatever. We arrived just as the were walking out and so we took some pictures, but I forgot to bring my camera with me today so I'll have to remember next week. Then that night we made it for the last 10 minutes of the farewell thing for missionaries that were leaving and so Elder Fernandez was the last one to bear his testimony before Pres. Gulbrandsen spoke. It was pretty cool. Then I was all chillin there in the gym behind the chapel and I met an Elder and then I realized that I had met him before at BYU. Haha. He was in my Book of Mormon class and I approached him after class one day because he announced his call to BA North. Legit. Then my new comp. arrived and found me. His name is Elder Ramey. He is from Eagle, Idaho and he is legit. Haha. He has only been in the south his whole mission until he came here. He has a little bit less that one year in the mission. It is a nice to change to have a new comp. Elder Fernandez was a little.... I dunno. Buggy. We didn´t get along very well. But it looks like Elder Ramey and I and going to get along great. He is a good guy and a good Elder. We will have success together. Right now we are hoping to have at least one baptism this Saturday, but preferably two. We have Jorge Alberto Rodriguez and Susana Estigarribia. Here is the story of Jorge. He was going to be baptized about 2 years ago in some city in the north of Argentina and had his interview and everything, but the day before his baptism his mother died and he never went to church again. Until a few months ago he moved here and he went to another chapel in our zone and so we received his info and went the next day to where he lives. He told us his story and how he remembered everything and that he was reading the BoM. Unfortunately we lost contact with him for about a month because he never came to church. But we went anew with Elder Ramey and we found him and he came to church yesterday and with a friend!! We put a date with the friend and told Jorge he could be baptized this week if we can teach/review everything with him before the weekend. He agreed and we put a date for his friend for the end of the month. Bonus. Then Susana, Elder Fernandez found her when he was in Congreso on exchanges. She was in the place that the church has where you look for jobs (I forget the name...) and Elder F. went there and they offered the people our message and she gave her address and everything and she has been coming for about the past month already and so she has always had a date for this weekend, but for some reason (that we don't know and we can't find her...) she didn't come yesterday. So if we can find her and finish teaching her, she should be baptized as well.

Anyways, this paragraph is a flashback seeing as I didn't say much last week. The baptism of Maria and her son Jose Perez as well as Sandy Lopez was incredible. Because Maria has diabetes and can't see very well and also has one prosthetic leg, we knew it was going to be an interesting task to baptize her. Anyways, here is the story. She came out of the bathroom (which is right next to the font) and we told her to be careful because she was like hopping on her one leg (and she is kind of a bigger lady) and she ended up falling onto the floor. It was the saddest thing ever. But she was a champ and she laughed it off! She ended up getting up and into the water. It was so inspiring. Then to baptize her, she ended up kneeling and being baptized forwards. When she came up it was so amazing. She just started crying and so Elder Fernandez and I were crying with her.... The Spirit was so strong. It was truly amazing. In that baptism I baptized Sandy and Elder Fernandez Maria and Jose. Then on Tuesday I baptized Miriam and Elder Fernandez baptized Hugo. Then we had 5 confirmations yesterday... Haha. I ended up confirming Maria and Miriam. It went well and my Spanish was better that it has been before. Amazing. As well as having those 5 in the church we had 8 investigators and so there were a lot of people in church and the members all were really happy and many bore testimony of the changes that are going on in the ward. With the baptism of Hugo and Miriam we have doubled the yearly goal for the ward. We have 21 right now and our goal is to triple the goal by the end of the year. It is awesome to be a part of this great change. Constitucion was known as the worst ward in the stake before and usually averages 5 or less baptisms a year, but we are working hard and the Bishop is happy and proud of his ward now. Love it.

Anyways, I've been writing forever so I should probably roll out soon. But Conference was awesome. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did. I liked the doctrine. Basics and giving thanks. I think sometimes it is as simple as that. For this I want to thank you all. Whoever reads this. First family. You guys are amazing. It is such a blessing to be a part of this family. Two older brothers that have been almost perfect examples... 2 sisters that have always supported me and have always shown me love. And best of all- my mom and dad. Dad, you've been such a great example for me. Just so you know, you still owe me that pizza party from when our basketball team went undefeated. Haha. You're the man. And mom. I don't know where I would be without you. You're a great friend and I've always been able to talk to you. Not to mention all the treats and the help you've given me to develope my talents. Thanks for always pushing me. Thanks family, I love you all. Secondly, any friends that read this. I am very grateful for my friends. Friends are very interesting. I found out who my real friends were with time. For those of you who read this who were a true friend to me, thanks. You changed my life. I was lucky enough to have the best of buddies in high school and then I went to BYU and made all new friends and you all changed my life and you all are my real friends. Love. Anyways, I gotta roll out now. Love you guys! Until next week!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Baptism of Maria and Jose Perez and Sandy Lopez


Hello all! Today I don't have any time because I am going to the wedding of Hugo and Miriam and afterwards their baptism and then the farewell of Elder Fernandez. But the baptism last week was amazing and hopefully I'll be able to email tomorrow or something but here is the photo! I'll read and respond to your emails later! I love you all! P.S. my new comp is named Elder Ramey and I meet him tonight! Until next week!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The last full week of Elder Fernandez

Hola,
It appears that my second transfer is ending. Haha. So here is what is going down- This weekend is general conference so all of us missionaries in the stake (Congreso) are going to have our baptisms together on Sunday night. We are going to have 3 baptisms. We have Maria and her 10 year old son Jose as well as a young woman (17 almost 18) named Sandy that are going to be baptized. Maria is an amazing woman and we finally settled her doubts about being baptized last week when I was in divisions with Elder Aguirre from La Boca. She told us how she was worried about being baptized because she has a prosthetic leg and how she would have to remove it and also her fear of falling backwards. So we reassured her and told her we could baptize her going forwards and have like 3 people in the font to help. She agreed and is very excited. Her son, Jose is also excited and he is a stud. Because Maria has diabetes, she is losing her vision and so her son has to read for her. He helps her with everything and is just a great kid. Sandy was an amazing blessing. I don't know how much I told about her but she is a friend of Flia. Cordova and she has accepted everything and even came to church alone yesterday with 2 young nephews. It is crazy how well prepared some people are, even before we meet them. My testimony has really been strengthened that there are a lot of people ready to accept the gospel and be baptized on any day. We have just been blessed a lot lately in finding them. Also on Tuesday, Oct. 5th we have the marriage and baptisms of Hugo and Mirian. I unfortunately will have to go pick up my new comp in the morning and so I will miss the wedding, but at least I will be there for their baptisms. Then that night is the farewell of all the missionaries that are leaving so I will have to head back to San Fernando (mission offices, about an hour and a half of travel....) again for the farewell of Elder Fernandez. Although it has been a roughish journey with him (especially last transfer...) I have learned a lot and I bet that I am going to realize all the things I have learned from him throughout the mission. I am excited but nervous about getting a new comp, but I know President is inspired in his decisions and so I am confident that everything will be fine. Anyways, nothing much else this week.... We are going to Puerto Madero today for the last P Day of Elder Fernandez and a nice Parilla (Rodizio ish). Puerto Madero is the nice part of Capital with the tallest buildings. Should be fun. Anyways, I love you all and I hope you are doing well. I am doing just fine and learning a lot here. Keep safe and keep it real!!! Haha. Until next week! Pay attention during Conference and keep notes! Love!

Monday, September 20, 2010

El Bautismo de Nicole y Raúl Povea

Hola todos,

Soy yo, Elder Trayner. Esta semana tengo buenas noticias. Haha. This week I have good news. Not only was Nicole baptized this past week, but her little brother Raúl had a change of heart and told us he wanted to be baptized (he's 9). So we prepared them both and they were both baptized saturday. Then Sunday I was surprised when they announced that I was going to confirm Nicole (13 yrs old) and so I went up to the front and I was so nervous during it that my legs were shaking. Haha. But it went well and I only noticed one time when I messed up the Spanish. Haha. But the service and the meeting Sunday all went really well. Now we are just working with the mother (Milagros) to be baptized, but she keeps saying a couple more months (she said that 2 months ago...) and yeah. We'll see what happens. She is really the only prospect for this week which is really lame because we have baptisms that are certain the following 3 weeks. Oh well. Some people just need more time than other people. Also this week- Zone Conference on Tuesday which I loved, it was really good to see Pres. Gulbrandsen and to learn some new things. We talked a lot about asking inspired questions and listening. I liked it a lot. Also, I just looked and I don't think I sent a picture of the baptism of Nahuel... somebody update me if I did or not and if I didn't I'll send one next week. Haha. Also this week, we're still trying to resolve the doubt of Maria and her son Jose so they can be baptized the 3rd. She is a really special lady and we always feel the Spirit really strong in her home, and so it is hard for her to recognize that those feelings are an answer that our message is true and that the BoM is true. But we are confident she will recognize the answer this week. Also excited for Hugo and Mirian to get married the 5th and baptized and also this week we had another miracle. A friend (Sandy) of one of the daughters of Flia. Cordova decided that she wants to be baptized. We taught her once, but she wasn´t interested because she knew her parents wouldn´t give her permission, but as Yarine Cordova talked to her about what she was doing with the young single adults and her testimony Sandy started to read the BoM this past week and now she tells us she wants to be baptized asap and she came to church on Sunday. It is amazing to see how the Lord is preparing people for us. We are doing our best and it is weird that the investigators that we find from this week on are going to be baptized after Elder Fernandez leaves. But yeah, I´m a little bit nervous about all this change, but everything is going to come out just fine. I love you all and I hope you are doing well. I would also like to extend the challenge that we received from Pres. Gulbrandsen to anyone who reads this, to read the Book of Mormon by Christmas as a present to Christ that we realize the importance of the book. So.... Do it. Haha. I've really had my testimony of the Book of Mormon strengthened while I´ve been here. It really is the key to those that are strong in the church and those that fall away. Anyways I love you all and I hope you are doing well. Oh. Also. Mom, I received the package on Tuesday! Thank you so much! The batteries are 500 percent better than my chinese cheap ones. Haha. The peach rings were also delicious and made me think of Rach. Haha. Love you all! Have a great week!

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Baptism of Nahuel Aponte!!

Hola!

Hope everyone is doing well this week! Sounds like you're all pretty busy, but doing well. This week we had the baptism of Nahuel Aponte (the really smart 22 year old who is studying law). It went really well and what was even better was that we had 12 investigators in the chapel and a bunch of less actives that we had visited. It was awesome to see. It's always really nice to see that your labors are paying off. Also this past week- Elder Fernandez left from 9 AM until 6 PM Tuesday, W, and Thursday. I was with 2 missionaries that had just started their 3rd week in the mission. Haha. Elder Gardner and Elder Christensen. One of them spake hardly any Spanish and the other.... decent for a new missionary. It was interesting to be in charge for 3 days, and all three days went really well. It was really a test of my Spanish and of my knowledge of the area. Hahaha. We had to use the map and addresses for everything, but it didn't really affect us. What affected us was not knowing the busses. Haha. But I'm going to try to pay attention to the busses we use more often for when Elder Fernandez leaves. This week we have the baptism of two young people. Nicole and Raúl Povea from the family of Amarú Povea. He was an inactive member, but the missionaries have been going to their house for about a year... and finally his 2 children want to be baptized and he is trying to get his life in line. It is nice to see them finally change, but it is hard to see how reluctant the wife is still..... She still wants more time.... Months. But we think when she watches her 2 children be baptized she will want to be baptized soon as well. The problem is just that she studies and works so much. She needs to realize the importance of her family, but they are progressing. Also this week. We found a couple named Hugo and Mirian about 3 weeks ago (a Sunday night) next to where Macario lives and they have come to church 2x now and we went and made a date for them to be married the 5th of October (one day before Elder Fernandez leaves!!!), they really are a miracle family. They have a 7 year old and a 3ish year old daughter. They really have just accepted everything and are reading everything they can get their hands on. Haha. They are really funny.... He also committed to quit smoking and she committed to quit drinking coffee even though she sells it on the street each morning with other drinks and bread stuff. They're amazing. Another amazing investigator this week in the capilla for the first time- Maria! She is 50ish and has diabetes and so she is losing her vision and she lost a leg and so she has a prosthetic. She also has one son who is 10 living with her and a 22 yr old daughter who lives far away. She is such an amazing woman. So strong. Her son (José) has to read for her and he helps her a lot with everything. It is amazing to see. Anyways, they should be baptized just before Elder Fernandez leaves as well. We really are seeing a lot of blessings.

Anyways, I love you all! Sorry this email has no order. Haha. This week remember to read the Book of Mormon! Do it! Keep strong! The gospel is true and it is the only way to be truly happy! Until next week!

Monday, September 6, 2010

¡Un Bautismo màs! - Macario Tapia

Hola!
¿Comò anda? Before I get, I have photos attached from the Baptism that we had this Friday for Macario Tapia (19 from Bolivia, like Flia. Cordova), the friend of Flia. Cordova. Also included- photos of the beloved zone leaders, photos of the single adults in the ward, Elder Fernandez and myself, and an example of some good food here. Haha. This week we had the baptism and it went really well. Other than us forgetting to fill up the pila (font) until just before the meeting was supposed to start, everything went epically well. He is such a good guy. So I just realized that the 12th of this month will mark the 1/6 part of my mission. Que loco. Haha. Time goes by super fast here. I am still struggling to learn Spanish, but it is coming along. This week I am going to be forced to really excercise an effort because Elder Fernandez is going to the 3 day leadership training again and I am going to stay in Constitucion with a new missionary for the day time for all three days....!!!!! Crazy. I don't even understand the people that well! Haha. Oh well... We'll see how it goes. The new missionary only has 3 weeks in the field and he is an American, but who knows, maybe he took spanish before??? Haha. No, it'll be ok though. Interesting, but ok. What else..... This week we have the baptism of Nahuel Aponte, a law student who is 22. He is such a stud and very smart. It is so exciting to see the difference in the barrio here (ward). We've really helped increase the amount of active priesthood members and it really does make a difference... Now if only we could get a ward mission leader..... Haha. It would be so nice. Anyways, we are preparing other families now so they can be baptized at the end of the transfer to celebrate the leaving of Elder Fernandez. We should have a good transfer in the end as far as baptisms.
I don't really know what else to say other than to share my testimony. It has been awesome to see people realize that they need to change and to utilize the atonement of our Savior to do it. I know that if we have desires to change we can do it through Christ. I know that the only way to truly be happy and to have success in life is through Him. I know he suffered for us and that he understands us perfectly. I am so grateful for my family and I want all of you to know that I love you and you're examples and teachings have changed my life and you all are a big reason why I am out serving. Keep strong and never let your faith in Christ fail and you will never fall. I love you all and I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only church with Christ at it's head. I hope everything is going well for all of you and I love hearing from you all. Hasta la proxima semana!




Monday, August 30, 2010

This week in Constitución

Hola todos,
Another week goes by swiftly in Argentina. It is crazy how fast the weeks go by here. I feel like we go from P day to Weekly Planning to Church over and over again. Yup yup. Let's see... This week... We were going to have 2 baptisms this Friday, but one of our investigators didn´t make it to church so he will be baptized next week. But I actually kinda like it because we are going to have baptisms 3 weeks in a row and hopefully more if we can get our new investigators to church this week. Anyways, we are doing well here, the hardest thing is just the lack of members. It is so hard to find a member to accompany us. Anyways, we talked to the zone leaders at church about it and they talked to Pres. Gulbrandsen and he said that we might have 4 missionaries in Constitucion next transfer. That would be so nice. But we´ll see.
Anyways, our investigators are doing well. Macario (who was delayed from last week to this week) is very prepared. He is awesome. So humble and grateful for what he is learning. In our lesson the other day we were saying, oh congrats for preparing yourself for your baptism and stuff and he said, no, thank you guys for teaching me the path that the Lord wants me to follow. .....!!! It was incredible. Then our other investigator who now is going to be baptized next week (Nahuel), is really smart. It is so nice to teach someone that is smart, but not prideful. He is in law school right now, and so it is a bit tricky to meet with him. Also his dad is basically anti because he is really catholic. So we usually teach him in the homes of members and he is awesome. We asked him about what he read the other day and he told us how he read all the testimonies and the intro and everything and he recounted the story nearly perfectly and then told us about the different plates that made up the book of Mormon. Ridiculous. Haha. Anyways, they´re awesome. The family that is going to be baptized in 2 weeks from Saturday (Familia Povea) are progressing well. It is really hard to meet with them during the week (nigh impossible...) but they seem to be progressing on their own because they were up bright and early and arrived in the chapel early and they´re reading and praying. So we´ll see. The biggest aspiration we have for them is that the father (was inactive and had problems with a few things) will be ready and worthy to baptize them. We will see soon when we meet with them and during these coming weeks.
Sounds like everything is good at... home?? Haha. Wherever that is. But all of you people that once lived in a home with me seem to be doing well. It is crazy to hear all of your experiences, but I am sure that the Lord is watching over all of us and blessing us for what our family is doing. I love you all and I hope you are doing well. Somebody should post on my facebook or something that people can email me. Haha. Anyways, I love you all! Don´t forget your scripture reading today!!! Haha. Until next week!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Al empezar del segundo traslado

Hello!!

Haha. How are all of you? Sounds like everybody is doing well. Well, I am doing well here in Constitución! Looks like I´ll probably be here for a few more months because I didn´t get transferred this transfer that was yesterday (that´s why I´m writing today) and I´m going to kill my father (father = trainer, dying = ending the mission... I hope you understand...) So I´ll probably be here for this transfer and 2 more. But who knows, I guess only time can tell! haha. But anyways 4 transfers would be about 6 months and so I would spend more than 1/4 of my time out in the field in Constitución... Haha. Anyways, I´m actually kind of excited about this because the area is changing a lot. The whole barrio (ward) is more excited because we´re getting investigators to church and we baptized familia Cordova and everything. It is so much easier with the support of the members... If only we could get a Ward mission leader now.... That would help so much. Also. I can´t imagine how much easier it would be with a car. Dad- I hope your missionaries realize how blessed they are to have cars. Such a pain to make sure we always have monedas (change) and know the bus routes otherwise we have to walk a ton and our area is pretty big (so it takes forever...). Yup. Anyways. We are going to have a baptism next week and 2 young men are going to be baptized. One is Macario (a worker for flia. Cordova) and the other Nahuel (A young man that attended the Church in Peru for about a year). It is awesome. We had to delay the baptism of Macario one week because he couldn´t make it to church this past sunday, but we are excited for both of them and we are going to teach both of them tonight. Also another family is chaning a lot, but I think I already said a lot about them (familia Povea, Amarú, Milagros, etc.....). They have a very solid baptismal date in 3 weeks. We are busy preparing all of these people and finding new people for the end of this transfer. yesterday we received 18 references. We basically got references for a whole "hotel." One of the families has 14 children and the other families are also all pretty big so we´ll see how it goes and who is going to end up baptized. Also. This week I taught my first lesson in English. haha. We are teaching a woman from Ghana who doesn´t speak spanish very well and she understands english better. It is interesting because she doesn´t speak English very great either, but she had already read some of the BoM in Ghana and said she knows it is the word of God. Her husband is harder though and very busy so we haven´t really taught him. he says he is methodist through and through. We´ll see what happens. The testimony of the BoM is the key though and so we should be able to move forward from here.

It is crazy that I´ve already been here for 6 weeks (one transfer). Time goes by really fast here. My spanish is decent and I´m starting to understand the majority of other people. Anyways, my goal is to be able to understand everything and be able to teach everything well by the end of this transfer. I also need to know the area very well for when Elder Fernandez leaves. Anyways, not much else going on here. Next week should be much more exciting. Oh also, Matt Naylor might be upset. I went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders in La Boca (Matt told me I have to cheer for River Plate- the rival team against La Boca Haha....). It was good to learn some things from them and one of them leaves tomorrow (Elder Blanco... stud.) Anyways, just so you know, anybody can write me emails I found out!!!! I just have to write back handwritten. Try not to email me too dumb of things though... Haha. Anyways. I love you all! Until next week!

Monday, August 16, 2010

My first Baptism!!

Hola todos.

Hello again. Tis I, Elder Trayner. Haha. Another week gone by here in Constitucion (ConstituSion) and it was a good one! Haha. This past week I had my first Baptism. 4 members of Familia Cordova were baptized on Saturday. I ended up baptizing 2 of them. I baptized Alejandra and Tania and Elder Fernandez baptized the other 2 (Laura and Micaela) because Juan (a recent convert) baptized Laura, but he didn't say one of the words and he left really fast because he had work... anyways... haha...It was awesome. We also ended up singing with someone playing the violin. We sang Our Savior's Love. Everything went well and we received a few references that we're teaching now. I was pretty nervous because of the Spanish and because they all have really long names here (the slap the last name of their mother onto their full name at the end....), but I didn't mess up. It was great. Then yesterday they were confirmed and I ended up confirming Micaela. It was super stressful for me because I found out an hour before (before the Sacrament meeting) and blessings are hard because they are in tu form when we talk and all the members talk to us in usted. Anyways, it went decently well and I'm just going to say that I'm very grateful that confirmations are expected to be much more simple here. Haha. Anyways. I've attached a few photos, the first 2 are in the MTC with a couple bosses and then the photos from the Baptism. In the best photo from left to right Me, Juan, Micaela, Tania, Laura, Alejandra, and Elder Fernandez. The other photos that I'm probably going to attach have the Bishop in one (short and serious looking haha) and the visitors that came to watch. Anyways, I tried attaching them but the computer is doing something weird so I hope it worked. Haha.

Anyways... What else. Our next baptism is going to be relatively soon. I think I shared the story about the friend of familia cordova named Macario. If not here is a brief synopsis. Because Familia Cordova is composed of all women we have to always go with a member or she has one son, but he is always out. Anyways, one night about 3 weeks ago (wowww) we had an appointment set up and the son was going to be there, but he wasn't. So we tried all the members in the vicinity, but nobody could come. It ended up that they invited one of the workers from their fruit and veggie stand. Yup, he is Macario. Anyways, we taught the first lesson and everything went super great and he has come to church the past 2 weeks and so he will be baptized very soon (once we figure out the best time because he works a ton... and we want his boss, Hermana Cordova, and her family to attend, but the problem is that they would have to close the verdeduria... so. we are figuring out a time. Anyways. He is pretty much a miracle because we prayed with him that first meeting and he asked in the closing prayer while we are all kneeling if the message we shared with him was true and we asked him how he felt after and he said something really interesting. He said he felt liberado (or something) or basically free and that he felt it was an answer from God. It was awesome and we visited with him last week and he said he feels like God is answering his prayers and that he believes the Book of Mormon is the word of God then he said, that's why I'm going to keep attending church every sunday and I want to be baptized. Hahaha! So awesome! Such a blessing. He has really strengthened my testimony that there really are people who have been prepared by the Lord to meet us and to accept our message. It's awesome. Anyways, it is interesting because Familia Cordova and Macario are all from Bolivia. Most of the people we teach are immigrants. I know the Lord is putting them in a position that they will be more open and ready to hear the Gospel. Anyways, I could go on more about our other investigators, but we didn't have too much progression from our other ones, but we'll see what happens this week and I'm sure I'll have a lot more people to tell you about next week.

Anyways, my message for you guys this week is centered on the Book of Mormon. It is interesting to see why less active people are less active and why some recent converts are so strong. I have seen that it is because of their reading in the Book of Mormon and their testimony that comes through reading the book. Anyways, I just wanted to challenge all of you to read at least a chapter a day this week and to strive to strengthen your testimony of the Book of Mormon through reading, pondering, and praying about it. Also, seek for opportunities to help the missionaries in your area and share the Gospel with your friends. I'm realizing missionary work is all through members pretty much. Without the help of the members that help us, it is so much harder to accomplish anything. Luckily, we have an awesome relief society president with a recent convert husband that are willing to help us a ton and they really do make a difference. Calls, visits, and pies. Haha. She is awesome. Hopefully we'll get a ward mission leader sometime soon.... Anyways some matters of business to close. Haha. From the members I have a request for a recipe for frosting for cinnamon rolls and also violin fiddling music (at least that is what I understood because she said country...haha silly people...). Haha. I also would like a couple cello pieces. Mom tell Rach what to do. Haha. Also. As far as I know right now, all Christmas packages that you desire me to receive before Christmas must be sent in October. At least from what I know right now. This is because we receive letters and packages every 8 weeks or so at zone conferences and our zone conference should be towards the end of november. Packages take about a month from what I hear to get here. Yup. Things I am thinking I would like so far... deodorant (old spice, the new kind maybe?? something tropical and something cold... I don't remember the names. Otherwise just ask josh or something), contact solution, rechargable AA batteries and/or a cord for the CD player i brought, altoid or preferably icebreakers mints, and a jennie oaks baker CD because she played the violin the last day i was in the MTC and it was epic. Haha. Anyways. Just some things to think about and also a couple immediateish requests. I love you all! The Gospel is true!





Monday, August 9, 2010

Update that is up to date

Hello all. Tis I. Your beloved family member, or friend, or acquintance that you knew at some point. Haha. Just kidding. Anyways. I´m going to put my letter from last week first because I got a bajillion things saying that it was too big for a lot of your emails. Oh ps. I can get attachments.
Bueno. And now, my letter for this week. Haha.

This week was a decent week. I guess it was probably above average, or at least above below average. I hope you understand. This Saturday is the Baptism of Familia Cordoba!! Yay! Haha. As of what we know right now, I am going to baptize for the first time on saturday. :) There are 4 being baptized, but 3 count as convert baptisms because the mother is a member and one of the children turns 8 on Thursday. Just so you know. Haha. But yes, we are most excited about this. Also. Because they are all female and we have to have a male over 18 with us in all appointments, we went to their house about a week ago for an appointment, but the son (who is an inactive member, 21) was not there. We tried 4 or 5 members (the only ones that ever accompany us... haha), but none of them were home. So then the family realized that they could invite one of the workers in one of their 2 verdadurías (sell fruit and veggies). He ended up coming and is un capo. Or basically, he is the man. Anyways, the lesson went really well and he came to church yesterday and I think he will end up being baptized in a couple ish weeks. I was happy the Spirit indicated to the mother to invite him. Other investigators are all here and there except there was one other miracle this week! There is a family that we are teaching, the family of a man named Amarú. The missionaries have been in and out of their house for YEARS. Because he is an inactive member and his wife and 3 children are not members. Anyways, he hasn´t been the greatest example for his family and this is really what has prevented the family from progressing. Anyways, the father (Amarú) has made it to church for the past 3 weeks. And the biggest miracle of all, his wife came this Sunday!!!! Her first time ever. Anyways, we are seeing a great change going on in the family and they loved the church yesterday. It was awesome. We hope to be able to baptize the 2 children over 8 in the next few weeks and we will have to see what happens with the mother. It was really interesting because we stopped by once this week and she was cleaning and nobody else was home so we couldn´t go in so we were just having a small conversation, but then we asked her what truly was stopping her from attending church and she confessed that it was because her husband is a member and he hasn´t been living how he should and she knew that eternal families were a part of the gospel and she didn´t want that. It was really special and she was crying, but it is awesome to see how the whole family is changing and how she attended church this week. Huzzah!

Anyways. Good ole ConstituZION is doing well.... haha. Oh! Haha. I will now discuss the Bishop here a little bit. When I arrived Elder Fernandez told me that the Bishop wasn´t a big fan of the missionaries because the missionaries before him were slack jobs. Anyways, right now the Bishop is re contento (really pleased) with the work we are doing in the barrio (ward). As well, he asked last week if Elder Fernandez would speak the next week (yesterday) and Elder Fernandez asked why I couldn´t speak and the Bishop was surprised and said he didn´t know if I would be able because of my lack of Spanish. I responded and told him I could do it and he asked if I had understood the whole conversation and I said yes. He was surprised again and said that Elder Fernandez would speak the next week. Needless to say, we spoke in church yesterday. I didn´t think mine would be very long, but it ended up being 15 minutes long! Haha. I talked about preparing for a mission and I challenged all the youth (quite a bit in this barrio) to decide to serve now and to prepare by attending seminary and institute, reading the book of mormon and gaining a testimony, and by living worthy. The ward members were impressed and were all congratulating me after. Haha. I just hoped they would understand my Spanish... Haha. Anyways, we´ve only taught 2 people that haven´t understood me (because of my accent??), so I guess my Spanish isn´t too bad??? Haha. I dunno. I am understanding a lot right now. I think I said this last week, I don´t think in English first very much anymore so sometimes it is harder to remember what I am saying?? I dunno. It is weird. Haha. But I´m getting better and teaching more. Hm... What else... Elder Fernandez and I decided we´re like a married couple because we either hate each other or love each other. Which I guess is a good thing and a bad thing.... but at least we don´t always hate each other?? Haha. I dunno, it is interesting. He is a good missionary and he is about to die (in the mission sillies). I´m learning a lot from him and we´re doing some of the best work in our district even though historically constitucion isn´t too successful. So I´m content, but of course we can always improve.

Uhhh... Cultural facts of the week... The people drive like crazies and I´m pretty sure there aren´t any speed limits, only 2 people own a car in our ward, the spaghetti here is different because they have like a brownish sauce, people from paraguay and up there like rice a lot... Rice isn´t too bad, but always eat it with something... Don´t throw things around latinos.... what else.... Oh. I love all the spray paint pictures all over the city. Totally my style with weird monsters and stuff. My companion wants me to put that he almost speaks english?? Haha. Buses are super full and we always run out of coins.... police are afraid of some areas haha... uh.... the oranges are juicier here... they call popcorn popcorn... i dunno. Ask me some questions if you would like, I never can remember what I notice throughout the week. Haha.

Anyways, I just want to leave you all with a little testimony. I know that Jesus Christ suffered for all of us. Not just for our sins, but he felt every pain and everything that we feel. Because of this we are never alone and someone always understands how we feel. This knowledge has always brought me so much peace in my life and I know that he loves us, because he understands us perfectly. However, we can´t just let his sacrifice be in vain. We have to act and always remember what he has done for us and accept it in our lives. We do this by repentance, or changing our lives. The only way we can change is through Christ. Anyways. Time to go. :) I love you all a ton!!!! Share the Gospel with a friend this week! I love you. ¡Hasta el proximo Lunes!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Gran Mission Buenos Aires Norte

¡¡Hola Todos!!
How are all of you doing? It sounds like you are all doing well. I hope everyone is well, I didn´t get letters from all, but I understand you are all busy and I can especially understand for if Nate and Josh don´t write because I wrote them like 2x their whole missions. Hahaha. Anyways. I guess this week was interesting. I´ll say a little bit about me first and then about our investigators and then who knows what.
So... Right now I am in the middle of capital (Buenos Aires) right next to the obelisk and world´s widest avenue. Haha. This area is in our zone so we can come on P Days. We went to a pizza libre (unlimited pizza). It was only 18 pesos (4 pesos = 1 dollar, $4.50) for unlimited pizza, salad, empanadas (my favorite), and I dunno. Something else that I didn´t eat. It was pretty good. The pizza here is great. Empanadas from The Empanatta (delivery!!) are the best. Haha. But I can´t use my personal funds for like a year because I have to have a Argentine I.D. which takes like a year. Haha. Ridiculous. I found out that Constitución borders the South Mission. Who knows, perhaps I am within 10 miles of Jordan Allen. haha. Anyways. Sunday went pretty well. We had 7 investigators in the capilla (chapel) so that was decent. Uh... great part was after church we went to the house of the Bishop and his wife made us canelones, and then some delicious postre (dessert) which was some kind of pudding cake deliciousness, and then to my great surprise the most delicious flan I´ve ever had! Haha. It was awesome. Loved it. Uh what else about me... I guess I´ll throw out some more stuff about the area. Constitución is apparently one of the. . . most interesting places in Buenos Aires. Haha. There is definitely a lot of. . . weird stuff in Constitución, but we are finding the people that the Lord has prepared for us. It is great. There is a great big train station out in front of our apartment (i sent a picture last time). It is so weird. I can´t help but wonder why they spent so much on trying to look Romanesque here when all of it is decaying and it would have been better spent making the structures more sound, but oh well. It is interesting I guess. Uh... What else. Lots of spaghetti and some rice. Oh! I started eating tomatoes. They´re actually pretty good on the pizzas here. Haha. I still don´t like olives (sorry Maddie), but yeah. It is good here and I´m getting used to it. It is hard for me to learn the area because it all looks the same. Haha. Eventually I´ll get it. Anyways. Not as much meat as I thought. Just from streetside stores. We buy them like once a week. They call it Choripan. Just like a brat in a french bread bun. Pretty good and mostly everything here is pretty cheap if you think about it in US dollars. Anyways, enough about me and the area... Haha.
Investigators. Familia Cordoba is still doing really well. It is hard because their father left and so we have to bring a male member over 18 everytime and that is hard because our ward is really small. Because of this they brought a friend over last night. He is 19 and it went really well with him so we are going to continue teaching him. He seems really receptive. We´ll see. Anyways their Baptism is the 14th and we´re hoping to add another family that day, but we haven´t confirmed the date yet. The family is a father (member who was less active for a long time, named Amaru) and his wife (we´re not really sure if they are really married...) and their daughter. We´re hoping to definitely baptize the daughter soon and hopefully the wife, but we have to find out if they´re married for real soon. Anyways, familia Cordoba is the only super solid date we have but we have been teaching a family who is muy bueno. Oscar y Mierta and their 4 children (3 over 8 I think). This week Mierta and the children came for the 1st time and it was awesome. It was too bad Oscar didn´t want to get up in the morning. Anyways. Hopefully he´ll come next week. I have faith that they will all end up baptized soon. However, we also need to find out if they are married or not soon. That is the biggest problem down here. They all say they´re husband and wife, but they´re not really married. Haha. Nobody is married. Anyways, it is good to see how they´re chaning through the Gospel. At the beginning Oscar didn´t want anything to do with religion, but he is the one who answers most of the questions and things. Capo (the man). They´re all feeling really good about the Gospel. Anyways... other experiences this week. We had investigators with doubts because they watched a Discovery channel show about polygamy or something, but we just responded by asking how they felt while they were watching that compared to how they feel when they´re with us or in the capilla and we told them the only way we can know the truth is through prayer and el Espiritu Santo. They were more settled and by last night they were feeling a lot better. It was unfortunate that they didn´t attend church yesterday though. They´ve been doing pretty well (except the husband... he is hard to get to do anything... haha.....) Oh. Also. We have Vidal and Paulina. They´re so awesome. Paulina is only 18 and has a 1 year old child from a past relationship, but she has been with Vidal for a long time now and so we finally got them to commit to get married and they were about to start on the papers when now suddenly they decide they are going to move because they don´t have very much money and it is expensive to live in Capital. Paulina thinks she is leaving with the little one (Michael) to Paraguay I think and Vidal is thinking about moving to Province (outside the City). It is a tough situation. We hope that whatever happens they continue in their quest to be baptized. They also didn´t come to church yesterday because he went looking for a home or apt. outside the city. It was really unfortunate because we have had so many great experiences with them. They even just bought new clothes the other week for church and everything. Hopefully Vidal will stay in Constitución so that he can be baptized really soon. Anyways. I hope you like reading about what is going on here. They are truly great people and we can see how much the Lord has prepared them for us. It is so hard to get people to change, but it is amazing to see the happiness that enters into their lives through the Gospel. Vidal and Paulina after the week of transfers and craziness told us that they were kind of upset because we hadn´t come by the whole week and that they felt something was missing from their lives. It´s true and I hope they realize how much the need the Gospel.
Anyways. Enough of this typing business. I love all of you back home and I´ve been a little homesick (as much as a man of my great stature can be...) but I know I´m in the right place. It is awesome here and I know it is where the Lord wants me. It is funny to think about how different experiences I am having from my roommates at school. Me in a huge city, Benji in Africa, Tyler in Provo, Colby in Bulgaria (hopefully... he got sent to Washington in the mean time last I heard...). But I know where we were sent is where we belong. I can´t wait til I see you all again and I miss you all a ton, but this is where the Lord wants me and I was so happy when I saw 7 people in the Capilla and a bunch of other people that have been inactive forever that we were able to visit during the week. It is nice to know I¨m making a difference and I hope we can get another solid commit to Baptism soon. I know that the only way to truly achieve happiness in this life is through the Gospel and through our Savior Jesus Christ. I am so grateful to be able to pay two years back for his life that he laid down for me. It wasn´t only his death. He had to be perfect his whole life, even through His temptations and He couldn´t afford to forget His purpose. Neither can we forget our purpose, and that includes me as a missionary. I hope you are all doing well. In fact, I hope you all are above average. Haha. Thanks for reading this extended edition of the life of Elder Trayner. Love you all! More photos attached! Enjoy Constitución and downtown BA!





Monday, July 26, 2010

Constitución week 2ish

¡Hola todos!

I hope you are all doing well. The work in Constitución moves on. Haha. This week was a lot better than last week. Even though I was in another area for 3ish days because Elder Fernandez had to go to training for leaders (he is district leader) it was good in our area. I really liked going to the other area. I was with an Elder named Elder Witherspoon who is Navojo from Arizona. The area is called Parque Patricios. I think that is how it is spelled. Anyways. I enjoyed going there. They have a villa (sounds like bee zsha) Haha. It basically just means slum. I thought it was awesome. They are sooo much more laid back there. It was so much easier to contact people and the people were so much more open to the gospel. Anyways. The work in that area is going well. It was interesting because Elder Witherspoon only has 3 months in the mission and I had one week. Haha. But we got by. He can understand 99% and me 25% haha. Yup. Anyways. Then I took the Subway back to Const. and got back to work with Elder Fernandez. The week before this Sunday we had 0.5 investigators in the Capilla (cah pee shj uh) Haha. Yeah, it was pretty frustrating. Anyways. This week it didn´t rain and we had 8 investigators. I am most excited for familia Cordoba. They´re so awesome. Here is their story.

So. Before I got here I guess they just started taking the lessons. I guess the mom and one son were baptized a long time ago, but were never really members... Anyways. Then I got here and when we went the father was never home so we could never go in, but then one day we went in with a member and the mother told us that the father went to peru for work for a while. Turns out a few visits later that she found out he was going out with other women and things and so now they are separated and he left and isn´t coming back. It is a really sad story, but it is amazing to see how she has moved on. At the home we teach 6 people. Her and her 4 daughters and 1 son that has 5 or so years. The other son never comes because he has a girlfriend, he is about 21. It is rather unfortunate that he never comes because our dream is to have all of them baptized and have him serve a mission. So far we´ve taught him once or twice. Lame. Anyways they´re so prepared for the gospel and are progressing really fast. Their baptism is scheduled for the 12 or 14th of August. I can´t remember. It is because one child is turning 8 the 10th or so. This way they can all be baptized together. It is going to be awesome. Most of our other investigators just have to get married, but it is hard to get them to act. Haha. We´re doing our best though. At least they went to church. :) Yup Yup. Well. Rach asked for pictures so hopefully I can attach some in this cafe.

Other random tid bits. Uh... The food is good. Tons of noodles and pasta, not really meat. However, we´re going to a parilla (par ee shj uhh) or something like Rodizio today. Should be most excellent. The people are cool, but hard to understand because their are tons of different immigrant nations here. However, the biggest problem is how they are so lazy and don´t really open their mouth to talk. Hahaha. It´s all good. I´m starting to get used to it. Elder Fernandez says I´m actually doing pretty well with Castillano (spanish... haha). Hopefully he starts thinking I´m doing other things well... It is hard with him... Oh and one last tid bit. I actually played the cello last week. Haha. Their is a family here that does Suzuki!! Haha. They´re all really good, but I couldn´t even remember a song because I hardly practiced the past year. I played half or so of my concerto and then I couldn´t remember any more. Haha. But it was fun. Pretty crazy eh? Anyways. I love you all! The Gospel is true and I´m so grateful I have it. It changes lives and brings happiness! I´m starting to see this in my investigators. It is awesome. I hope you are all doing well! If you have any questions you´ll have to wait until next week! I love you all!

Oh the photos are of me and elder fernandez and my old mtc comp elder hunt and his new comp and the train station right outside our apartment. :) And some others for kicks and giggles from the mtc.

Elder Zachary Trayner