Monday, July 21, 2014

Going to Andalien, and the World Cup has ended!!!

July 14

Dear Family,
We have transfers tomorrow.  I will be going to a nearby city stake called Andalien, and will be in the Santa Sabina ward.  Cambios are always a little bit stressful because all of the packing and running around to tell people goodbye.  I have heard that the ward has one of the highest Sunday assistances (attendances) in the mission, about 200 people weekly, but I will let you know on that one.  I will still be really close to the mission office, so that is convenient.  Speaking of the office, the package came.  Thanks a million!  I can’t wait to open it.  My companion will be Elder Bence, from California, I talked with him briefly about 6 months ago, and he seems to be pretty cool.  The ward has 4 elders and 2 sister missionaries.  I am excited to see how a big ward works.  I have heard that there is a seventy who was called from that ward within the last several months, so that will be cool.  I am really excited to get to know this ward.

Rebecca, sorry Argentina lost.  There is an Elder who is an Argentine soccer fanatic in our house, and it really was hard for them to lose.  I hope that it calms down soon, and that it is safe to work.  I hope you have an amazing week this week.

It sounds like you guys are having a pretty good summer.  Keep me updated with all your awesome activities.  I like to hear about everything that is going on with Idaho, Minnesota, travel adventures, girls camp and scout camp, having fun with cousins, and just everything.   

This past week has been a pretty calm week.  I made pancakes this morning, and I was taught how to flip them really cool using the pan.  It is easier than it looks.  We have been teaching lately the bishop´s niece.  Her father is less active, but wants her to be baptized.  He is often out of town on Sundays because he is a truck driver, but he sometimes comes to church.  The girl`s name is Constanza, and she stays with her grandma on the weekend, who is very active.  By the way, yesterday her grandma gave us a can of homemade manjar, which is called dulce de leche in Argentina, and is similar to caramel.  We put it on the pancakes.

In this mission it is prohibited to teach kids under the age of 14 unless their parents are progressing in the gospel with them.  The father recently had an interview with his brother in law, the bishop, and so we have permission to baptize her.  The service will be this Sunday right after church.  I will ask Elder Sellers to email me some pictures.  Yesterday in Church I saw Amadeo for what will probably be the last time.  He is such a fun person.  He is in his eighties, but more lively and happy then most people half his age.  We gave him a flashdrive with a copy of over a hundred ´´Mormon Messages´´ in Spanish.  I hope he stays active as he gets older.  

This morning we went with a couple other Elders in our district to a neighborhood in their ward called Lonco. We went because it is said to have the biggest and fanciest houses in the mission.  Many of the houses there would be serious mansions in the U.S.  I saw 3 and 4 story homes, large brick palaces, modernistic styled homes, and lots of just plain big houses.  There was a 3 story brick home with a Mercedes-Benz parked in below ground garage.  It was really cool, and I got some good pictures. 

I wish you all the very very best in all that you do.  I love you all more than you think.  Remember to work hard in whatever it is that you are doing, and to not forget to have fun as you work.  That applies especially to scout camp.  I thank you all so much for all the many prayers on my behalf.  I love you more than the number of cheerios it would take to make a mountain of cheerios necessary to fill the entire treasure valley with breakfast cereal up until the height of Bogus Basin.  Have a Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat week!

Sincerely,
Elder Withers 


Dear Family,
We received transfer updates, and I am staying in Beltran with my companion....woooohoooo!!!!!!  I love this place and I love my companion.  Its going to be another great 6 weeks :)

This week we had a meeting to meet President Zanni, and it was awesome.  President Zanni is INCREDIBLE. Absolutely incredible.  We got to meet him, his wife, and 6 of their 7 children (one is on a mission in Taiwan....the first to go to Taiwan from South America...pretty cool!) and they are so great.  You can tell that getting used to the mission has been a little bit tough for them, because it’s all so new and there are so many missionaries...but they are doing well.  Their kids are still pretty little (youngest is 5) and all the kids say that one of their favorite things is the new house (it really is a huge mansion, like the one Chad was describing...a brick palace with a fancy car for Pres.) :)  

And this week, the word cup finally ended.  President gave us permission to watch the game, because it was impossible to work during the match....he said we might as well enjoy it since Argentina has made it so far (ha...isn’t he so awesome?:) so after church on Sunday, we ate lunch and went to a members house to watch the game.  They had seats saved for us in their front room, and gave us some cake and lemonade to enjoy.  We felt like royalty for a minute :) and then the game started, and I have never seen such passion.  They asked us if our families were watching it too, and I said we never watched the world cups....but that since Argentina is in the finals, and that I am in Argentina....there was a good chance that you were all watching....and you were!  How fun :)  They were all joking, and laughing, blowing little horn things, cooking in the kitchen, and so forth like a super bowl party or something.... until Germany scored.  After the goal, my goodness the dynamics of the room changed dramatically.  All joking was over, and it got serious.   They were really nervous, and the mom had to start knitting to distract herself.  When it ended.....shnikees it was sad. I even felt sad and I don’t even really care about soccer.  I think seeing how sad they were made me feel a little bit sad.  Their nephew Santiago, who is 11, really started to cry.  Big, throbbing tears.  The daughter and her husband who are expecting their first little baby, were so sad they started crying too, the mom who was knitting put her little project down and started to go around trying to comfort everyone saying it’s okay "we made it this far", "we are the second best in the whole world" or "we played the best we could, it was a hard match" and so on.  No one believed her, but at least she tried...she was just trying to be a good mom.  Ha....it was a good experience for me.  You can accurately describe the passion people have for soccer down here, because it’s so intense.  I don’t think I really understood how important it is to everyone until I watched the game with them....then I learned my lesson.  All of Argentina was sad, with even the toughest of men brought to tears.  I’m sure you saw that on TV.  I thought everyone would go nuts, and they did for a little bit but not really.  If we are talking for long term effects, it was better that we lost.  If we had won the party wouldn’t have ever ended.  And I realized with when I was watching the game that the last time Argentina went to the finals, was when you were in Argentina mom!  And that game was against Germany with a score of 1-0.  Talk about dejavu!!!   I think we are the unlucky ones, because Argentina lost both times.  :)

As far as the work here in Beltran, its going well!  We have lots of great people we are working with, and the training is going well.  One crazy thing that happend.....(please don’t freak out) is that we got robbed in the street.  They swiped everything, my bag, copies of the Book of Mormon, pamphlets, and little cards of Jesus.  I hope they enjoy their goodies.   But I had to buy a new bag, I hope that is okay.  Hermana Gonzalez lost her scriptures (her nice ones to study with) and all of her pictures with her camera.  I had my camera too, to take pictures with the members after lunch in case I got transferred, but I have all my pictures backed up.  I hardly ever take my camera, but these last few days I have been taking it to take  a quick picture in their house before leaving, and it has been swiped.  I had to buy a new one today.  The robbers scared the living daylights out of us, and it was better to hand over everything instead of getting hurt.  For now, I don’t take anything valuable outside.....just pictures of Jesus.  Memories of Beltran will have to be in my memory and in my journal, my camera will take pictures only inside the apartment, until I gain the confidence to take it with me to take pictures in other people’s houses.  We are really really careful (Argentina has changed me a little bit in that sense, I look at everything suspiciously and everything has the potential to be dangerous) and it keeps me on my toes.  We really are okay.  The Elders came over to give us a blessing, and that helped a lot. There are angels protecting us, they really really are.  

I really really love all of you guys and hope you know that I look forward to your letters every week!
I love you more than all the Argentine hearts that were broken after the world cup!  
Hermana Withers




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