Well first of all I would just like to say that is was great being able to see everyone in the family yesterday! It looked and sounded like everyone is doing well and that life is moving right along out there. I think that the biggest surprise was how big all the kids have gotten! Geez most of them have gotten huge! I am sorry that everyone had to wait a while to actually make the call though. I am glad that it all ended up working out though and that everyone was able to be patient and wait for me to finally do it! At least for me it felt like it was just yesterday that we were talking for Christmas so if the time between now and the next time we talk goes by just as fast we will be skyping again in no time!
Anyway this past week we had our annual mission tour by a general authority and we had the blessing of going to the mission offices in San Fernando to listen to the words of Elder Gonzalez of the Seventy who is also the South America South area president. It was a great experience and before the conference he insisted that all the missionaries come up and shake his hand personally. He was a really cool guy and talked a lot about "real growth" of the church. He basically said that we should be baptizing, retaining, and reactivating all at the same time and that if we did, the church would grow much faster than it is right now. He also talked a lot about our purpose as missionaries and what it means to have the authority to preach the Gospel of Christ. It was really a great meeting and I was blessed to be able to learn many things to help me be a better missionary for my Father in Heaven.
As far as investigators go this past week was a little rough. Everyone here is really quick to saying "yes" to all of the commitments that we extend them such as reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and going to church. However when the time comes to verify if they did what we asked or Sunday morning comes around, they almost always seem to have some sort of excuse or just simply did not do what we asked. It is very frustrating sometimes because the only thing we can do is teach by the Spirit and hope that they use their agency to chose to follow Christ and receive the blessings that He wants to give them. As such we had very few investigators in church this week and our baptism for the upcoming Sunday fell through. Add all of that up with the fact that the Sister in my district needed me to take her to the hospital and Sunday was a very stressful day for me as well. However it was great to be able to end it on a good note by talking with the fam!
Just a little bit about our area, right now I am still in the Juncal ward. I have been here for almost 4 months now and we still have 3 weeks until the next transfer. I think I will probably leave but it is possible that I will stay here for up to 6 months in total. I absolutely love this ward and I really would not complain to be asked to stay here a bit longer haha. Our apartment is in a richer part of the city but it itself is very small, especially for 4 elders. We have to take a bus each day to our area which is a very poor area next to the Retiro train station. It is a great area to work and almost everybody knows us as the Mormons there haha. Most people think that it is a somewhat dangerous area but as far as myself and my companions have seen we feel much safer there than we do in many other areas of the mission. Almost everyone who lives there is either from Peru, Bolivia, or Paraguay. Therefore we don´t eat much Argentine food unless we have lunch with a family who lives in the richer part of our ward. Peruvian food is awesome though so I am not complaining at all! It includes a ton of rice and chicken but it is incredible what they can do with that. What is the best though is that we have lunch basically every day with members so we are definitely eating well. As far as my favorite meal goes, I would have to say that my favorite Peruvian food is Arroz Chaufa, which is basically ham fried rice but instead of ham it has beef or chicken or both. My favorite Argentine meal would have to be an Assado, which is where we just eat a ton of meat haha. Most of the time it is sided with coca-cola and rice or pasta but basically it is just the meat haha.
Well other than that stuff everything else is going well. My comp and I are getting along great and he has a lot of motivation to work hard, which is the most important thing. My district is also doing well and having success. Sister Cipriano who got sick yesterday is feeling better but I will have to keep checking in on her to see if she needs anything. I am hoping that tomorrow they should be able to go out and work again.
Well anyways this letter was a bit longer than usual but today it is raining so we won´t be doing much more than just writing and relaxing a bit. I just want to end with a thought that I had today during my personal study. In the MTC a speaker told us that the only way to become like our Father in Heaven and our Savior is to come to know Them. The only way to do that is to serve Them and let the Atonement of Jesus Christ take affect in you and in the people that you are serving. I have come to realize that as I have served my mission so far that I have come to have a love for the people here that is different than a love that comes from this world, it is a love for the welfare of their eternal happiness. When we come to know the purposes and designs of God we begin to see His love for us in a way we could never imagine, and then our heart comes to long that other people can feel and know the same things that you have come to feel and know. I still feel like I may have only scratched the surface of this knowledge of my Father in Heaven but even so it is a feeling that cannot be described to be an instrument in the hands of God in bringing about a small part His eternal plan. It is a feeling that impulses one to serve and glorify God for not just the rest of your life, but throughout the eternities. I hope that in their own way, every person can come to know our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ and lose themselves in Their service. I promise as an authorized representative of Jesus Christ in the earth, that as we do so the windows of Heaven will open and we will feel the full extent of our Father´s love for us. I love each and every one of you and thank you for your prayers and all that you do on my behalf. Have a great week!