Ranas y tartas

Hola y buenas tardes!

This week was great.  We have been teaching people right when we find them.  And it is a fantastic joy to spread and speak the truth!
Cool experience:  Yesterday, we visited one of the less-actives that is on our list to bring back. His name is Làzaro.  He used to be the Branch President before he went in-active.  This is our 3rd visit with him.  In our lesson, we felt the need to speak on sacrifice and also shared experiences of faith that we have had.  It got to the point where the spirit just spoke to Elder Lopez and I to keep quiet.  Don’t speak for a moment.  After about 45 seconds of us stewing in the words of Christ and experience that we had shared, Lázaro said he was remembering all the good memories and good things about being in the church and in the gospel.  The Spirit continued to say, “be still”. and as we did so, Lázaro began to cry.  We continued to let the Spirit work within him. Then he said on his own, “you two are beginning to convince me to come back.  I feel the need to. I feel the Spirit and I can’t deny it. I can’t fight it.”  Yes!  I KNOW that the Holy Ghost lives and is real and is the Spirit of God which testifies of truth and satisfies our soul.  We hope to see Lázaro this coming Sunday in church.  It is satisfying and pleasing to know that you did your duty as a missionary to invite the Spirit and testify of the truth.  If you’ve done all the possible you could do, then its the Spirit’s job to testify and then the person’s job to use their agency for good and act on the promptings.  We’ve done this a lot lately!  Spoken and have felt the truth with people.  More often than we would like they turn away from the promptings and don’t act.  For example this week, we had some great “to-the-point” lessons with some less-actives about coming to church, and we all felt good together at the end, all hopeful, all like, “Yeah let’s go! You’re coming to church this Sunday yeah!”  And we provide rides for them as well.  And then the morning of (yesterday morning in particular) many simply fell apart.  Even with the rides available, even after feeling the Spirit.  Many denied it with the lack of action and faith.  So sitting in church (we had 25 come yesterday, which is still a steady higher rate than before) a lot of people that could have and should have been there and had everything set up from them didn’t come.  But I am satisfied with our work that we did all possible.  As a missionary you learn SO much patience.  Everything is still WONDERFUL.
There are TONS of frogs (ranas) in Argentina….everywhere.  They are dumb and entertaining creatures, and always found plastered to the ground in the road.  Mom, one of my favorite foods that Argentinans prepare are “tartas”.  One-inch width tarts filled with usually spinach or other healthy goods.  Kind of like a kiesh. You know how to make them. That’s ONE thing here that’s healthy and oh so scrumptious!
I invite YOU….ALL my friends and family, member and non-members of the church to watch the videos on “mormonchannel.org”  Every video is AMAZING. Particularly “mormon messages” Watch “the hope of God’s light”  “you never know” and everything else.  This church contains all the truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Also, I want to invite everyone, to read this talk by Richard G. Scott (one of my favorites–if it’s okay to have favorites–apostles) which was given at the last conference and to put into practice what it states.  Read it, and if you aren’t already, follow every JOT AND TITTLE of it. I promise it will bless your life immensely. Every tittle (such a good word). https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/make-the-exercise-of-faith-your-first-priority?lang=eng
We have a new and exciting tool to use in Missionary Work this month starting tomorrow.  It is the “He is the Gift” project for Christmas. and our mission and I believe all others are going full-throttle with it, it will be spectacular.  The church, for the whole month of December has bought and reserved the fore-front spot on youtube for this project so that the whole world will watch a video on Christ and be led to His truth.
The Gospel is true and its fulness is only found in this church, this cannot be denied.  The Gospel will roll forth until it has spread and touched every corner (jot and tittle) of the earth!  It refines us and purifies us.  It satisfies our soul.  And it makes us understand and become like God.
Onward and Upward!
Elder Orme IV

Alpargatas

Hey familia y amigos!

Alpargatas are the traditional Argentine or “Gaucho” (Argentine cowboy) shoe.  It is a firm fabric slipper with a sole made out of rope.  Certain types look exactly like TOM shoes.  I’ll be bringing some back!  They are comfy, flat, slipper shoes that can be used for anything except sports.  All the gauchos–people who work in the field–and most of the people here wear these Alpargatas.
We are doing good here!  Every Sunday we have been here the number of people at church has gone up every Sunday so that’s good!  Yesterday there were 28 in church.  We have found only a few people to teach that aren’t members, and nobody steady yet, but there is one young women that we will be working with more now that her 18th birtday is coming up…her parents gave her permission to be baptized once she reaches 18.
Transfers are today and there are no changes for me and Elder Lopez.
Through Jesus Christ there is hope through anything that we go through!  To take upon us his mercy and strength we must repent and be born again by the Spirit.  Thankfully to Him, He overcame death and sin, that way all the consequences of this fallen world will be all made right again later, as long as we do what He asks of us.
Go, fight, win!!!
Elder Orme IV

Voy como cordero al matadero

Hola familia y amigos!

This week we made headway in the branch.  Remember I said that we were lacklusterly received when we first arrived here…but that’s changing.  We’ve gotten to know the members here, have spent time with them, my companion the Branch President has been having good interviews with them, giving out callings, we are delegating, allowing them to be their own agents to do good, putting the branch in their hands, and having activities.  All of this has been giving a new hope and energy to the branch…they are smiling more, more open in conversation and ideas, more coming to the activities, more participation during church meetings and classes.  A lot of GOOD flippin stuff basically for the branch in Feliciano!  We are seeing that the people have ideas and energy and want to put it to use!  And that they love the church.  Our poor reception was due to rough experiences and happenings in the past that have knocked them off course a little bit (some mistakes by others, some misunderstandings, some natural life heartaches).  But we are helping them find their foundation on Christ and Christ only! (Helaman 5:12) so that the winds of the adversary don’t knock them down again but only makes them stronger!  and stronger together!  So we have high hopes for the growth and general welfare of the people and the branch here.  Good stuff eh!?
Photos below are of some members (notice our humble meetinghouse), some asados, and of course photos of THE SHIRE!
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There is this one family that were basically the pioneer members of the ward.  Their name is Kavafian…it’s armenian. They are the backbone of the branch.  All the children are adults now and have some small families of their own. The head of the family and the one that brought them all to the church and made them strong in the was the father.  He passed away a year ago and it was a very rough hit for the family.  Now the mom is the head of the family.  They are a confident family, strong in familial ties, blunt, sturdy, to-the-point, are well-off because they work for it, AND have very strong and deep testimonies of the church!  Because they are the backbone of the branch…much of the bad experiences in the past have been directed to them, but they continued going to church because of their testimonies but basically shut off much communication with the other members because of how much they have been attacked, and also some mistreatment of the past missionaries towards them. But now, due to what I believe is our help, Elder Lopez and I have been showing to all the members equal love and willingness to work with each one of them, and to put the branch in their hands.  And now they have been responding back positively!  Like I noted earlier, much more hope, energy, and love is entering the walls of the little house chapel here and in the hearts of the members!  Onward and upward!!!
Funny story: At the end of an activity when we are hanging out, eating and chatting, one investigator of ours yells out, “Okay, I’m leaving!!!!!  And I want to say that if I don’t get baptized by the 20th of November…I WON’T be baptized!!!  Okay…see you all later!”  Everybody was like, “whhhhhatttt???”  Background on this woman…she has been taught by the missionaries for ages…she’s 60 something, quite a funny character; stubborn, and because she is, doesn’t understand basic doctrine.  She’s had about 4 baptismal dates in the past but they have all fallen through for some reason.  We have been teaching her here and there, but she’s a stubborn one.  She said…”I’ll be baptized, BUT I ‘ll only come to church sometimes because there is always something to do Sundays!”  “Well that’s what you think huh” we thought among ourselves.  Well now she has put her own baptismal date…but we are not inclined to do it because she hasn’t put forth any works.  She’ll always be around and once she puts forth works we will be happy to baptize her then.
This morning we witnessed something LOCO.  Elder Lopez and I headed to a member’s house to witness the slaughtering  and skinning of one of his lambs.  He’s going big as it is his birthday today.  Later today, we will go back to eat it asado style!  It’s not the tastiest meat there is, and he doesn’t prepare it with tons of spices, but it’s an experience.  I’ve already eaten heart and kidney.  And boy was it an experience to watch upclose and personal how meat is REALLY prepared from the beginning.  I’m not going to include the pictures in this email but I’ll make one for my family.  Let me know if you want to see pics.
The slaughtering and skinning happens much different then I thought!  It was…if it’s weird to say…pretty spiritual!  Our friend, captures the lamb with his lazo, ties one leg to a rope, and hoists it up.  The lamb makes a couple “baaaaas” but is really calm.  Our friend grabs one of his big knifes, situates the neck, and swiftly and accuaretly slices the throat…the lamb doesn’t make a sound nor moves!  Only twitches because of natural nerves.  The blood drains into a bucket and the lamb quickly and peacefully dies.  WoW! we thought.  Just like that!?  And then he begins to skin it and it’s a completely clean process!  I was expecting blood to fly everywhere! But there was none.  Our friend quietly removes the skin, humbly and respectfully it seemed.  He then opens the stomach. It was amazing to see EVERYTHING.  He takes the insides out and we see the lamb completely skinned.  He takes off the head…I take off a foot (my souvenir!) and then takes the lamb inside. WOW.
Spiritual point of view…CHRIST is the LAMB of God.  He was perfect, innocent, white, and when taken to the slaughter…was as peaceful as a “may morning.”  He did not fight but allowed the will of the Father to be done.  Read Doctrine and Covenants 135:4 for what Joseph Smith said right before his death.
Don’t let Christ’s sacrifice be for nothing!  It was done so that if we had faith in His name and repented, we could be saved from spiritual death!  I thank God for giving His Son for us.
Hey!  Love you all!  Onward and Upward.
Elder Orme IV