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


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!