Argentina Mendoza Mission

Argentina Mendoza Mission

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

July 25, 2011

     How's everyone?  Wow, time is really going.  I'm almost at 10 months.  We had two people in church; one that is progressing, her name is Estella Bustos.  Shes kinda weird but thats ok, she has a fake eye and she likes to talk.  She is an older woman that lives sola.  She believes that certain rocks give off good energy too.  she also believes the Book of Mormon gives off good energy, so that's a step.  I gave another talk yesterday on charity,  I think it went pretty good.  I sure am grateful to live in Utah where the church is so strong.  I have had members tell me that they have been hurt more by other members of the church than anyone else in their life.  It's so sad because church is supposed to be a place where we go to feel better and to be with others who share the same beliefs as us.
      It's really great how much we learn as missionaries in one week.  We learn many things that will help us not only in the mission but also to be better husbands, fathers, and future leaders of the church.  I have already grown so much in the mission and I still feel like I'm one of the new guys.
      Speaking of the change of the presidents, I think if we see a change in the way things run it will be this next week, because the zone leaders are going to their first meetings with him, and thats usually when things change is in those meetings.
      Well I just got you a bunch of new pictures up on the Costco website, from tranfer 5 and some of 6. When I get home I will have to explain to you what they all mean and who they all are.
       Elder Drennan is my comp.  He is from Folsom, California, the same place as the Folsom Prison.  We get along really well.  The other day we got sixteen peso milanesa sandwhiches, they were the best sandwhich I've had in this country.  I took a picture of half of it.  They are huge, and it equivalates to 4 dollars.
       Our other 4 best investigators kind of stopped answering our calls when we went to their house, so we are a little confused.  That's what's hard is people don't tell you to your face that they aren't interested and then you try to get a hold of them and they just get more annoyed.
      I haven't really thought too much about souvenirs.  I'm thinking I will do that stuff the week before I go.  I do have a goat horn that I wrote Malargue on though.  I will get some mates, and some jerseys, maybe a bottle of wine or two, and some steak knives, I don't know we will see.
      Yeah the computers kind of suck, but the one I got today is pretty good.  Yes I live in La Consulta.
      I'm good with clothes and everything.  I sleep great; I don't even know where I would find an animal skin, maybe that will be something to get as a souvenior.
      Are you guys at the cabin where I wrecked that four wheeler?  Tell everyone hello for me.  Sounds like you are all having a good time.  When we went out there as a scout group there were some drunk guys who had a flat tire too, they had driven on it for quite awhile.  Speaking of drunk people, I'm so glad that public intoxication is illegal back home.  Because here it's not and teenagers drink right in front of the cops but they don't do anything.  Oh and did I tell you that the other day we walked up to a guy and a girl and asked him what he was up to, and he said smoking marijuana, and sure enough he was rolling a doobie right on a street in broad daylight.
     The only unusual animals I have seen are the dogs.  They are everywhere, and they all are jacked up. There is one close to our pensh that turns in circles randomly when he is walking.  All the dogs close to the ice cream stores are super fat, and we saw one go and sniff horse dung, and then it plowed it's head right into it.  It was way gross, but we laughed for awhile.  The bunny tasted better than chicken, maybe more like goat, or it could have just been how it was seasoned.
     Right now I'm reading more Preach my Gospel , and I'm in 1st Corinthians.  I love the four gospels and Jesus the Christ, they really changed my perspective on him.
     Well hope all is well and hope you enjoy the pictures.  The picture of white and yellow stuff in a cup is milk I bought from a store, then I put it in a microwave and all this butter came to the top.  Not sure that's normal.
Elder Wharton

July 18, 2011

     I'm so sorry to hear about Justine's death.  I can't imagine how difficult that would be.
     I spent the last hour trying to load photos and I almost had it and then nothing.  So, you might be a little disappointed.
     Being a district leader is going good.  Our district does really well.  We still haven't been able to get anyone in church though.  I live in La Consulta, 64 ejercito de los andes oeste, I think.  We are doing well, and me and my comp are getting a long really well.  Remember the video of Blaine reaching into the hole in the bathroom, I almost did that but instead the land lady said she will get it fixed.  When we shower and use the bathroom, nasty water starts to come up from the floor.  But she should take care of it today.
     This week we had a little competition in the zone and we did really well.  We got 32 news with 16 baptismal fechas.  Most won't progress, but some of them will be pretty good.  We got into a house of an Italian guy, who spoke French, now he speaks Italian, English and Spansih.  He showed us pictures of his trips to Italy and they looked sweet.  The buildings look so old and gothic.  He went to the biggest cathedral in the world.  He spoke a little Italian for us too.  They are super Catholic.  Their son is training to be a fighter pilot, but all the planes in Argentina are like what we used 50 years ago.  He talked about how Argentina compared to the states and Italy has no organization and it's dangerous and there is a lack of respect.
      I also did divisions with an elder in my district from Peru.  He says they eat like giant hamsters up there; he also showed me a picture.  I ate some kind of bunny meat with bread at some inactives house.  It was way good, they said in summer if I'm here they will take me to hunt bunnys with dogs.  Another inactive family eats armadillo and they said if I'm here in the summer I can go with them too.  Anyway, the area is really pretty, it's snowing right now.  The mountains are huge, jagged rocky, and snowy.  We have nice houses in the area, and vineyards and orchards around the outside of the town.
       Being a couselor here pretty much just means that I help count tithing.  But it's pretty cool to see how careful the church is with that.  Then we take the cash and a card to a pago rapido, or fast pay and they swipe the card and all that money electronically goes to Salt Lake City.
         We have a few good investigators, Janina and Evan.  Janina is a cop and they are super nice and happy.  They lost a daughter after a few months of having her.  There is alson Analia and Brandon; they are all really nice.  We just need to help them get to church.
         Well, I am thankful for the package and the prayers.  I love the real candy, and the gravy and spices.  I really wish the computers here didn't suck but, I will have to try next time.
         Oh, the American Cup is going on too.  Argentina already lost but it's cool to walk by houses and you can see every house has the TV turned on to the game, and when you knock on the door, they just say ... Do you want to come in and watch the game?   It sure is a huge thing here.  Thanks so much for everything. I'm going to go now and hopefully get you pictures the next time.
Elder wharton
i will be praying for the barnecks.

New Area-La Consulta-July 11, 2011

    I can't tell you anymore about Malargue.  I left there Tuesday at 1 in the morning.  I am now in the zone Valle de Uco.  It's in between Mendoza and San Rafael.  My area is called La Consulta, and my comp is Elder Drennan, he has 2 transfers. I also found out when I got here that I'm the district leader.  It's my first time, and I'm not too sure what to do, but I am learning.  The area is super pretty and it's smaller than Malargue.  The city is really clean, and nice.  I told my comp it looks like it could be in the states.  On the outskirts of the city there are big fincas, or grape vineyards and every once in a while there is a big winery. The huge Andes Mountains are really close.  They are very jagged and snow capped.  It's warmer here than it was in Malargue.  The mornings and at night before getting to the pench it's pretty cold.  We have a giant old two story house that is our church building, but once again our assistences or people we have in church is like 20 or 30 and there are about 300 and more members in the area.  We eat with an inactive family named Popik.  His grandpa was in the Ukraine.  He went to England I think, and then got on a ship which he thought was going to the US.  Turns out it went to Brazil, so now he lives in Argentina.  He speaks a bit of English, supposedly he was president of the rama once, but now he's inactive.  We have a few people we are working with in the area. Janina, Analia and Brandon.  They are the ones that from what I can see are the most promising.  So there is a lot of tracting to do.  I don't think it's possible to get rid of tracting down here. It's what we do most of the day.
     Oh,  so I'm also a counselor in the rama.  We help the president handle the tithing.  I was sitting at the table to do the sacrament.  I did the sacrament. and then the president handed me a letter that said. ¨"you need to introduce yourself and talk about the obra misional, you have 15 min" so luckily I had a small talk on the obra missional in my backpack, so I spoke and added some parts to my talk.  It sure was exciting.
     We got into a house and taught a guy a great lesson on the plan of salvation.  He seemed really interested, and we put a baptisimal fecha with him.  He told us the next day (Sunday) to come and get him for church, so we did, and no one answered.  We started walking away from the house, and then some drunk people came up to us and started telling us how good the wine here is and told me to drink some.  Then behind the drunk guy I saw the guy who we had the great lesson with stick his head out the door.  So I went towards the door and said hey, and then he closed the door and didnt answer it.  We kind of deal with stuff like that here.  People just don't turn out to be how they seem a lot of the time.
      I'm glad to hear that Steve got home safe.  It sounds like you guys will have a lot of fun at the wedding and in California.  I went to the Six Flags in Ohio and it was way fun.  That was for the Scout Jamboree.
      Tell Kylee happy b'day for me.  That's so crazy; she's growing up.
Oh yeah and my area is like a 40 min collectivo or bus ride away from the other missionaries in the zone, so once again we are kind of away from everyone.  But at least I see them once a week.  Well thanks for the letter.  I hope all is well back home.
     I tried to send pictures today but the computer wouldnt pick it up.
     Yeah so we met President Avila and his family.  He has 3 kids here with him.  He doesn't speak English though.  But he seems pretty good, I just got to meet him briefly and then he gave a talk on the plan of salvation, and related it to the mission.
Any who, I love you all.  Thanks for the letter.
Oh and I picked up the package from the offices this week, and I'm not sure how long it was there.  So, yeah I got it.  It was 71 pesos to pick up.  Thanks so much, the socks look way nice, and the gravies will be sweet.  I'm way excited for the seasonings.  Thanks for the candy and especially the hymn book, and shirt.
Elder Wharton

July 4, 2011

So, I'm still here in Malargue but not sure if I will see change or not.  They still haven't called us.   All the Sepulvedas came to church.  We had six in church on Sunday, which called for honorable mention in the mission news.  No one else is really progressing.
I totally forgot that today was the Fourth of July.  Yeah freedom!  Yeah America!  I haven't spoken or heard anything from President Avila.  The change of mission Presidents has been pretty much unnoticable.  Not even any emails from him or anything.
 We had all the Videla (Sepulveda) Family, Tamara Munoz, and Hermana Ortiz in church.  The only thing holding back the Videlas/Sepulvedas is that they aren't married.  They need to start trying a little harder.  If they pushed themselves they could have been married by now.

So one lesson we had was kind of cool or interesting this week.  We got into a house where the parents are inactive members but none of the kids are members.  The kids were the only ones home.  They were all teenagers;  3 boys and 1 girl.  They were all smoking and the house was full of smoke.  At first they laughed and made little comments.  But I was really straight with them.  I said look, we're kids just like you but there are more important things in life than just hanging out with friends,  I told them that God was the most important thing.  And by the end of our lesson one of them said the prayer.  They were asking questions, and they were answering our questions.  I said to them, look at yourselves, we're all talking about God, pretty cool.  We talked a little more with them about what things were interested in and what the diffence is between cumbia and reggaeton.

Another pretty good lesson was a guy who (outside of his house) asked us why do people call you Mormons?  We started to explain and he said you know what, come on in.  So we went and talked to him his son, and his wife about where the Book of Mormon came from and about prophets.  He said I had no idea about prophets today.  So, I showed him some scriptures in the Bible that talk about the function and neccesity of prophets.

So it's way cold down here.  I'm not sure what the tempurature is.  I just know its super cold.  It has only lightly snowed once in the city.  But several times up in the mountains; they are covered with snow.

We found a sweet place to eat the other week; it's called Barneys Panchos (in other words Barneys Hot Dogs.  And it's Barney as in big purple dinosaur.  They have real Mexican salsa, then I ask for their other chile sauce and hot dog and mayo and their other chile sauce, with little french fries on top and the hot dog is wrapped in cooked ham and melted cheese.  It's way good.  Food is kind of a big part of the mission.  We bought empanadas from a guy who everyday he rides his bike up and down the streets in town yelling, "EMPANADAS... EMPANADITAS...CALENTITAS.... EMPANADAS."  My comp remarked if he did that in the states he would have a movie made about him and his dedication.  I so far haven't had that much weird food.  Blood sausage and the other day an older lady that makes lunch for us and lets us take the pot home and eat it, decided to throw cow stomach in with rice and potatoes.  The first piece wasn't that bad, then the second, then after the 3rd I decided it wasn't very good.  It's been sitting in the fridge untouched ever since.  When we make food in the pench it's usually noodles, sometimes we do spaghetti, and garlic bread.  The crepes were great, just like momma makes 'em.  Today I actually went and did crepes for some of the members.  They liked them, but they didn't get the difference between them and pancakes.

President Rastelli the 1st couselor in the mission presidency came out to Malargue and spent church here.  We didn't hear his class because we were teaching our investigators in the other class.  But it was fast and testimony meeting, and as soon as he realized that we had investigators in church, he was up bearing his testimony, which was perfect and simple.  We could tell that it was specifically aimed to the familia Videla.  Afterwards he came and introduced himself and talked with them a little bit.

Other than that not much new.  Just keep praying for the Familia Videla.  Hope all is well back home.  I will send pictures when I can get to a faster computer.
Elder Wharton

June 27, 2011

     Well lets see, we dropped the twins because they didn't have interest.  I'm beginning to think the Seventy is not going to come.
     Interviews were great.  President told me the only reason I'm down here in Malargue is because he knows he can trust me.  He said to enjoy the time here in Malargue because it's such a special and different area.  He said we are pretty much here to make sure the church does everything right and no major apostasy happens.  We talked a little about my future after the mission, career wise. (Not as much as I would have liked though.)  President asked me if I liked my area and would be okay with staying on more traslado here.  I told him yes.  He's just way awesome; he said to contact him when I get home.
     President Avila will be here within the week, so it ought to be interesting.
     The Sepulveda family got a moto, or scooter.  Saturday we went and she said she was going to get everything ready to arrive at the church and she was excited and said the whole family would be there because they have a moto now.  Sunday came and they didn't show up.  We will go visit them tomorrow.
 The Elders Quorum president still didn't come to church.
      San Rafael was pretty fun.  We ate in a little cafe in downtown San Rafael.  We had pizza which is just different here, it's good, but not the same. I am beginning to not mind eating green olives though.
     You said you went camping in daddys big truck?  What big truck?  Which reminds me, will you send pictures of all the mowing stuff, trailer, truck, and mowers.
     Lillie looks so different now, how old is she?
     So lets see what else?   Today in the morning I tried doing pancakes and hash browns, the pancakes sucked, and I'm not sure why; they were really dense, but the hash browns were good.  Hermano Munoz took us out to a river and a mountain with a cross on it today too.  Malargue is really pretty and has lots of things to see outside of the city.  Anytime now lots of tourist are supposed to start coming for the ski  resort Las Leñas.  We have an airport here in town.  It snowed a tiny bit last Tuesday.  Here in the city, it's starting to feel like Christmas time.  I put a little tree up, and Iwrapped my bed with lights.
       We did have one surprise in church yesterday: the granddaughter of the familia Muñoz came.  She said it was the first time in like 2 years.  She has not been baptized yet.  We eat lunch with their family on Thursdays.  When I first got here she would get up and start doing the dishes when we would share a scriptue, or just leave the room.  Now she listens and comes to church so we will find out what progress there is there.
     You know the old fox shoes I brought here on the mission. I think they might last me the whole two years. They had two big holes in them but I sewed them up today, also the inserts had holes in them, so I replaced them with cereal box.
     We went to an inactive family last night, who showed us pictures of them with the missionaries and in the church and all the good times they had.  But of course they got offended and didn't have a real testimony. Now she listens to all religions and so of course she believes that donating blood is a bad thing, thanks to the JW's. I don't get how people can leave the church, especially when it's because they got offended.  I don't know if I told you about the inactive lady who I talked to on the street... well she told me she worked many years with inactives and she knows all about it, that the people aren't perfect but the church is.  She understood that by not going to church she was not fulfilling her covenant, but she said, "I won't go back."  I said well then you know what the consequence is, and she said yes.  (Meaning pretty much the loss of the celestial kingdom.)  Her pride was so strong she was not willing to go to church to renew her covenant with God.  There are so many inactives here. I think some real apostasy must have happened a few times, because I don't know how else you can go from 120 active members down to about 30.  Anyway, it just helps me to know and see that I never want to leave the church.  It builds my testimony more in the church not in the other members.
        Speaking of, how are things back in the home ward?   About how many actives are there?
Anywho... I love you all.  Thanks for all your prayers, letters, and examples.
Elder Wharton

P.S. Now that the dune buggy sold, how much money am I short to pay for my mission?

June 20, 2011

     Nobody really has gardens here, some people have potatoe and garlic fields though.  Our area is the largest in the mission, technically it's all the Department of Malargue, but we just stay in the city.
     The Seventy hasn't come yet, so we will see if that really happens.  In the meeting for Argentina, Boyd K. Packer spoke (his 13th time in Argentina), Neil L. Anderson, Elder Civit from the seventy, and the primary president.  They talked about staying active, paying tithing, serving missions, and going to the temple, and the Holy Ghost, it was pretty good, but the video cut out half way through so we were just listening to a lot of it. Tomorrow will be my last time with the president for interviews.  He and President Avila might be together for an hour or two on the 30th.  The change is really fast.
     Kind of a funny story about Clint, but sad too, don't make yourself sad for his bad actions.  One day we will all be ressurrected and Clint will thank you for all you did for him, for all the care and love and sacrifice that you have made for him in this life.
     The Sepulvedas still know the church is true and want to progress.   Satan has worked hard and kept them from coming to church the last 4 weeks.  Something always happens, the first two times someone in the family got sick, then their roof leaked, and then Andres' family came to visit.  They didn't get the papers done because she didnt get payed on time.  We are just continuing to work with them.  We aren't supposed to give people money for anything, but I have seen missionaries do it.
      In San Rafael (where I am now) we play soccer and eat.  It's just nice to be with other missionaries.  We havn't seen any ash in San Rafael or Malargue.  Is the volcano still going?  
       Anyway, this last week was the fastest week of my mission.  It just flew by.  Things are going good, there is always work to do.  Sometimes we just don't see the results.  None of the menos activos or investigators showed up to church on Sunday and there were several that said they would make it.  That's just how it works out sometimes.
          I don't remember too much of what happened this week.  The branch here is really weak, the Elders Quorum president has gone inactive and apparantley doesn't have ganas to do anything.  We are going to go visit him this week.  We are teaching some twins, David and Lucas they are 17 years old.  Both are very Catholic and have gone and done missionary work in other areas for a few weeks.  It's pretty sad to watch them try and explain saints and the trinity.  It's so unclear and just doesn't make any sense.  They said they were going to come to church but we went by the house and they either weren't home or didn't answer us. We told them we would go to the Catholic church if they came to ours.  Right now their interest is just in getting to know.  They really don't have any desire to investigate; they are just curious.  We are just praying  the Spirit can give them that extra push.  They are pretty cool.  I tell them my classic joke (chiste) Cual es la differencia entre una vaca y un Argentino?..... una vaca da leche, y un Argentino Dale Che.  It's because everyone in Argentina says Dale, Che!!!   (Which is like let's go, or let's move or hurry up.  It has lots of meanings. Che is this famous revolutionist in their history.  So everyone calls anyone CHE for Che Gueverra.
     Well I really can't remember a whole bunch the week just kind of all merged together. I'm way excited for interviews tomorrow.  Anyways sorry for the weak letter
Elder Wharton
P.S. What's up with Bishop McBride?