Hey Howdy Hey Familia!
For the subject: Yesterday was mission wide Dia de Limpieza, or cleaning day. It's always the 6th Monday of every transfer. For that, I became best friends with Steel wool. I'm pretty sure the missionaries who lived in our apartment before us never cleaned the stove, and so I got a little Aunt Kristen white tornado on the kitchen and began busting all the oil and splash stains into sparkling clean. It was fun to listen to our EFY and church music on full blast and sing and clean as though it was a Saturday at home. Our apartment now: Spotless.
I haven't told you this before, so just wait for it . . . my companion knows how to make tortillas! You think the Costco kind are good--you know, the kind that come uncooked and you put them on the stove, like I used to do for breakfast my Junior year of high school--you wouldn't believe what it's like homemade, fresh off the stove, crafted by Honduran hands. DE-lish. I'll do my best to learn the art and teach y'all later.
A food adventure I'll never forget . . . well, I finally found granola here in Aregentina. I liked it so much I decided to have it not only for breakfast but also dinner! After dainly planning one Wednesday andhopping in my pjs, got a bowl of granola and yogurt and settled down in mmy bed to read and relax a little. And funny thing, I noticed after a moment that my cereal was MOVING. This is after 3 or 4 bites, mind you. Ants. Little yellow squirmy ants. I just about jumped out of my bed and fled into the kitchen to grab a glass of water and scrape the ormiga-infested food into the trash. Yup, got my protein in for the day. It made me thin of that story you told me once mom and dad, from when you were newly weds and had breakfast at someone's house and there were weavel in the cornflakes.
Cañada de Gomez has a charm all it's own. There's a train that passes straight through the city, and when we walk past the stationary train off to the side on tracks long unused (I think they leave them there for historic and aesthetic purposes) I can't help but feel that we should take up residence there and write our own version of the boxcar children. Hermana Martinez is obsessed with the train (the functional tracks run right behind our chapel) and every time it passes she exclaims with delight "Tren!" as the church floors vibrate in tandem with the tracks. I think I'm seeing a replication of the same adoration Carson Thacker once fostered for Thomas the train and friends manifested in my companion.
Deoderant comes in aersol cans in Argentina. Weird, right? I never thought I'd have a deoderant that looks like febreeze. And it stings a little on first contact. I miss Secret.
You would love our ward mission leader. His name is Hermano Francisco Said (you say his name like the character from LOST, Sae-eed) and he looks like Sean Connery. I love his accent--like the people from Cordoba Argtentina. And you'd be surprised how distinctly they talk! Even more like a song. You know how people sound when they are from India? It's like that, but in Spanish. He has such a fire about the misisonary work in cañada de gomez and a new convert of only 2 years. He always gives us chocolate or little hard candies when we have ward correlation meeting. He's just the best. We love him! I'm grateful to have a ward mission leader excited about the work. The ward mission leader is really the key to how a ward functions in the mission field, jointly with the missionaries.
Hermana Bustamante is one of my other favorite people here in cañada. She is a darling, grandmotherly woman who doesn't ever stop talking. But her stories are the best, and it is such a treat to meet such sincere people like her. Everyone says they love missionaries, but there's something precious that comes from people who really DO love missionaries and demonstrate it through their kind words, willingness to help us find / fellowship others, talk to whichever investigator comes to church, and sit and talk with them, etc. She is a true missionary herself, and besides cooks amazing food (Dad, you would die at the taste of her ASADO, or steak) and even though she never stops talking, she always speaks highly of others. She has an amazing story, too. She grew up in an orphanage, but married, lived a happy life with her husband and 9 children, and joined the church about 20 years ago.
The strong point of the ward here in Cañada is definitely the Primary. I know that might sound strange, but truly the strongest and bravest of Cañada are the little ones. This week during fast and testimony meeting, two investigators of Hermana Rane and Hermana Whitaker stood up to offer their testimonies. They are little boys of about 9 or 10. They explained that "JesuCristo siempre esta a mi lado, y JesuCristo va ayudarles." In English, Jesus Christ is always and my side, and he will help all of you. One little boy in particular, Uriel, directed his testimony at a woman in our ward who lost her Husband about 9 months ago. He explained that Jesus Christ will be there to lift her up and help her when she has a hard day. It was supernal. The most dedicated investigators we have in Cañada are children. It is incredible to me. THe hope of the world are those who reflect the light of Christ strongest, and they are Children.
We met an incredible man in the street the other day, hanging out in his wheelchair on the street corner. His name is Alfredo, and he lost his leg from the knee down a few years back. He's in his late 60'sand is a hoot, I feel like he's the Argentine Bill Cosby. We walked him to his house (I loved pushing his wheelchair ) and invited him to church, and if maybe we could share more about the Book of Mormon. He explained that sister missionaries had visited him before, and he loved what they shared and would love to come to church. Well, lo and behold, he showed up to Church on Sunday with his Wooden leg atached and on crutches. It turns out his wheelchair broke, but he still wanted to come to church! I was so touched. How blessed have I been to have a chapel only a few blocks from my house my whole life, and a temple but a 10 minute drive away. He stayed for Sunday School and Sacrament meeting. We are excited for this new investigator and his desire to learn of Christ!
Also right now we are teaching a sweet little 9 year old of a recent convert/less active family, she is on date to be baptized 16 Nov.
Unfortunately, la Familia Casas is no longer interested in the church, along with many of the other people we have met, taught, and invited to be baptized. But all we can do is teach, invite, and strive to be loving examples. They choose whether or not they come to a knowledge of the Savior. That whole agency thing.
Love you, my family. Pray for you always and lvoe you much!
Con Amor y Cariño,