Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November 11, 2013

Family and Friends,

Hello all! Hope all is well out there in good ole Utah. Things are going well for me down here in Arg. We had a really busy week this week trying to get my new companion used to the city and the ward here. We had a lot of teaching appointments and had some pretty exciting stuff happen. We did have some trouble this week getting our investigators to come to church but we had some other successes that about evened it out. Oh yeah and by the way in two weeks we got 49 more missionaries here. Our number is now 278 missionaries in this mission. 100 days ago it was 180... Yeah we are about to burst at the seems out here!!

This past week had some pretty cool stuff happen. We spent most of the week meeting everyone again and inviting all our investigators and less actives to the stake conference that we had this weekend. It was really good and they talked about missionary work the entire time. In the end we sang Called to Serve as all the missionaries in the stake (two zones) walked up through the rows and stood in the front of the congregation facing them. The spanish version of the song has four verses and on the last verse everyone in the congregation stood up and sang with us and everyone was crying. The spirit was so strong in there and afterwards we had tons of members coming up to us giving references and thanking all the missionaries for everything. Hopefully that will help our members get more involved in everything!!

Also this past week we had a pretty cool thing happen. When my old companion was getting transfered we got a call from the mission president saying that he was moving him to the office. He then spoke with me for a minute and said that he would like to talk some more sometime because we really did not get much time the day I arrived here. He said to call him on Thursday and that he would set up a time to meet. So Thursday rolled around and I nervously called him at which point he said we could meet the next morning. About two minutes after we ended our call though he called back and asked what our schedule was like that day... I told him we had 5 appointments that night and he said "Bueno, I´ll drive down and go to your teaching appointments with you and your companion tonight instead of you making the trip to me tomorrow, how does that sound?" I about died. Of course I said yes though haha. Sure enough about 2 hours later we got a call saying he was outside of our apartment. We were in an appointment so we walked back and met him halfway. He then went with us to our appointments that night and taught with us and everything. It was so cool! Then afterwards we went to this restaraunt and he bought us some dinner at 9pm. It was a really good experience and we got to really get to know the President more. He is an awesome guy and a great leader. My companion said he has been here 1 1/2 years and never had the president come teach with him. It was really fun though and last night he even called and asked for our opinion if he would be ok eating the leftover food he had from the restaurant haha!

Other than that we had some pretty crazy/weird stuff happen this week. One was we say three homeless people on the side of the street walking back to our apartment at about 9pm and one of them lit the other one on fire while he was sleeping... haha I think he was fine he just lit the blanket on fire and the guy jumped up yelling "fuego! fuego!!" which means "fire! fire!" hahaha we were dying as we walked by. Another one is we say a like 12 year old girl tied up in the middle of the street with like two 8 year old boys pretending to karate chop each other and another like 5 year old laughing. No parents were in sight. We had no idea what was going on but as we walked by someone finally came out who knew the kids and told them to get off the street before a car came. Haha oh this place is weird...

Well today was a pretty good day too! We went out to this place called Once which is like a giant street vending place in the middle of the city but also within the boundries of our district. We bought some really fake soccer jerseys of a team here called River. Haha they were like 5 bucks. Then we went down to the Pink House and took some pictures there. We ended up running into a group of missionaries from the Buenos Aires South mission here doing some paperwork for their visas. We talked to them for a while and they had a senior missionary there with them and they got permission from their president to take some pictures of the sights before they re-exiled themselves to the south again haha. Anyway it was a good Pday and we had a good time taking in some of the city. This city is gigantic and has tons of stuff to do. We already started planning our next Pday haha.

This next week has some really big promises ahead of us. We have 3 baptisms planned for this next weekend but we are not entirely sure that it will go down. It is all one family, the one we got married. They didn't want to give up smoking or drinking but I dropped some scriptures hard on them and told them that as a representative of Jesus Christ I could promise them that if they gave up their habits and got baptized, they could receive more blessing than they could even imagine. Then their 8 year old son gave a beautiful prayer where he asked the Lord to help his parents listen to the "Hermanitos" (which means little brothers) and stop drinking so that the family could be baptized and be together forever. Sometimes I think the little kids understand so much more than the grown adults.

This Saturday we have a special conference at the mission offices. We are going to have none other than Elder Jeffery R. Holland and Elder D. Todd Christofferson visiting the mission and giving a big talk to us. Afterwards we are going to be able to meet them and shake their hands. I am way excited for it and seriously can't wait! Meeting an Apostle as a missionary is about the most exciting thing we could ever do here haha. I will let you know how it goes!!

As for everything else, I am doing well. The language is coming slowly but surely still. I can understand more and more every day and my grammar and vocabulary are getting better. I still can't understand all of what people say but I can almost always get the gist of what they want from me and respond accordingly. I am happy and healthy and just continuing to push on through the work! By the way I did get your emails mom and dad thank you! It is always good to see how everything is going back home and what else is going on in the regular world. I sure hope that they get in contact with all the missionaries in the Philippines soon. We will be praying for them this week for sure.

Anyway I hope everyone else is doing well. I sure love hearing from whoever writes and seeing how the fam and friends are getting along. The work out here is pushing along and never stops. We have things to do every day for sure. Thank you for all your love and prayers. Keep them up! I love you all and I will talk to you next week!

Elder Zollinger
Photos of Erick and Sara's wedding (Investigators)

Erick and Sara and children

Erick and Sara and family and Elder Zollinger and Elder Pereira

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Pink House, Buenos Aires, Argentina (like the White House in USA)

Flag of Argentina

Largest State Owned Bank, Buenos Aires, Argentina

November 5, 2013

Family and friends,

Sorry that I didnt let you all know that I wasnt going to write on monday this week. I didnt know but on transfer weeks we have pday on tuesday. Hence the email now! Anyway as I said this week was transfers. I am still in the same area of San Cristobal but my trainer got called to work in the mission offices. So now I have a new trainer. His name is Elder Kuettel and he is from Gilbert, Arizona. He has 19 months in his mission and his also our new district leader. He is a really good guy and I actually met him a few weeks ago and talked for a while. He is going to go to USU after his mission so he might stop by the house and say hi or something! Ill let you know when we get closer to that though. In all his time in the mission he has never served in the Capital of Buenos Aires and has always been out in the Provinces. So he is having to get accostomed to the whole gigantic city thing. So I guess for the first little while I kind of have to train my trainer haha. We will see how that goes, I am not too worried.

This last week was pretty good. Our numbers were horrible as far as lessons and stuff but we did get two of our investigators married!! That is a big problem that they have here is that people live and have kids together without getting married. We are working with them towards baptism as they have problems with alchohol. Their 8 year old son said a prayer the other day that left us all crying. He has such a strong testimony and he prayed so hard that in his own words his parents will stop drinking and listen to the missionaries of God that were sent to change the little familys life. He is an amazing amazing kid and maybe he can be the thing that finally pushes his parents to change and enter into the covenant of baptism. 

We have a few other investigators that are doing really well but we probably wont have a baptism this weekend. Next weekend we could have up to 6 baptisms though so we will see about that!!! That would be amazing and hopefully that will come to pass. Otherwise we are doing well here. We have 8 active investigators right now and so we will keep working with them all.

There really isnt a whole lot to talk about this week. It was good and I am excited to start working with my new trainer. We are going to have some good success this transfer here I can feel it. I have no idea if I will stay here as a junior companion the next transfer or move out, I really have no clue. We will see though that is 6 weeks away still. I am glad to have an American companion that understands how important it will be to celebrate thanksgiving in a few weeks haha. In fact all four elders in this ward are from the US so we will have a celebration together. I am pretty excited for that.

Halloween here in Argentina was pretty low key. There wasn't much that went on. It is pretty much just the rich people that do anything for it as it is a pretty american holiday. We have to be back in our pension by 9 anyway so I wasn't out when anybody would be going around for candy or anything.

The language is coming along slowly but well. I can pretty much say what I want in a lesson and stuff but conversationally it is a little rough. I can't really get whole sentences very well yet. I can pick out the meaning of everything though, which is good. I have a goal to be able to speak well without much of a problem by Christmas. We will see how that goes!

Welp that is about all that I have for this week. I left my camera in my pension so I can't put up the pictures of the wedding or anything. I will send them next week don't worry! They are pretty cute and also I have some other pictures that you all might like to see.

Also, Happy birthday to mom this past week and Adrian's coming up! I hope they are good ones! I love you all and I will talk to you next week on Monday! Thank you for everything and especially the love, support, and prayers! Keep the faith!

Elder Zollinger