A very Argentine Christmas

My first Christmas out of the country!  It was very “tranquilo” one would say.  Means calm.  They celebrate it differently here.  Most people do have a little tree in the home with lights on it, and the REALLY hardcore people have a string of lights thrown on the outside of the house.  There’s no caroling that goes on.  There’s really not any Christmas music.  What a BUMMER, right?  But my companion and I got our fix listening to Christmas music in the pension (me singing them), visiting and singing to the elderly people at the elderly home, and to the members at any opportunity we had.  I wanted to get the tradition STARTED in Argentina, but, with all my efforts, I don’t think it caught on. :)  “Que va hacer”  A saying here that means “what can you do” while shrugging the shoulders.
Christmas day I spoke to the fam!!  The best gift! Then at night we ate at the Abuela’s.  In the pictures below, La Abuela, is the small woman with the big glasses.  She looks a little estranged in these pictures (becuase she doesn’t smile in any of them) but she is the sweetest, hard-working, loving woman here.  And she slabbed a full-on pig on the asado for us to eat big that night!  Pig is probably my favorite meat here.  Afterwards we let off some floating lanterns.  Who knew those things were super fun?!  I finally caught on.
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On Christmas day, they don’t have gifts waiting by the tree in the morning for all the kids to run to.  It’s just a day off from work!  We did our best as disciples of Christ to remind people to worship and thank God for our beloved Savior this day.
On the missionary work, we had some great lessons this week with people!  I love teaching the truth and teaching it with much more smoothness now since my spanish is a whole lot better.  We are always seeing what more we can do as missionaries with every moment we have to help others come unto Christ.
Love you all…Happy New Year!  Feliz Año Nuevo!
Elder Orme
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Hola San José de Feliciano

So!  Feliciano!

Totally farmland.  Sheep, grass, trees, dirt roads, beautiful rain and thunder storms, and really a beautiful place when it’s overcast….when it’s not….it’s HOT.  Real dressed up Gauchos are very often to meet!   Most of the houses don’t have house numbers.  “Go down that way and once you hit the shoe-shop, take a right and the house is between calle this and calle that in front of the kioskito.  There you’ll find that family.”  It’s an adventure getting around. Well actually an adventure with a lot of things here!
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Our little chapel is a house.  We don’t live there though.  16 people attended church yesterday.  Wohooo, small.  Basically, 2 families showed up.  One family is the “Abuela” (who everybody refers to her by, which means Grandma) and Matías, who has 17 years, they are both pictured below.  They are basically the one very strong family (of 2) that are STRONG in testimony and truth.  Matías and Abuela have been the only ones helping us out with anything.  We weren’t received well, by the other (12) members who attended church.  They were quite cold.  Luckily there is an elderly married missionary that attends our branch but they live out of the mission!  But my companion who is the Branch President and I led a good first sunday church meeting.  My companion has been pretty nervous with all the new responsibility but he is getting by well so far.  My companion is awesome by the way!  We get along SUPER well.  An amazing blessing.  I´m doing all I can to do all I can.  I taught the young men class of 2 and it went well.  I´m basically the “secretary” of the branch…it’s weird handling the tithing and fast offerings (putting records in the computer and what not).  My eyes are REALLY being opened to how a ward or branch runs just like Dad recently said to me that they would.
Only the true church of God can put 2 young men, strangers of the country,  20 years of age, in positions to lead a group of members in worship services without any prior experience or training, and have it run successful anyhow.  No other church can do it!  Because this is God´s church.
My companion, Elder Lopez is from Utah.  His parents were born and raised in Guatemala but moved to the States in their younger years.  Elder Lopez is as yankee (shankee as they call us here) as you can be.  We’re doing it together!
Our goal here is to bring ENERGY to this place because there is a lack of it.  And it is our prayer that we can do so!  (We have to travel 2 hours by bus to make it to the nearest district meeting…wow!)
Many adventures and stories to come.  Onward and upward!  Love you all!
Elder Orme of Gaucholand

I’ll explain the last bits of pics below from my last area Baigorria.

1  Elder Bluth!  A stud of a man and a bud of mine.  He’s new and has spanish just like I had when I started.
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2  Agenor is this real Lamanite descendant’s name.  He’s a returned missionary.
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3  And here we have the Martinez family!! Finally eh?  This is the woman that was set for baptism yesterday (I haven’t heard back from anyone yet on how it went).  Cristina Martinez!  From stone cold heart against the church to lovable, ball-of-joy, spiritual and totally ready to live the commandments.  Ramón Martinez who was a member, went inactive, now is active with his wife, and has stopped drinking and smoking.  (2 of their daughters are in the pic too.)  My last lesson with Cristina was tender.
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4  Here is Cristian and Antonella!
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5 And here are the 2 Peyrano brothers we helped reactivate. They were super bummed to have me go.
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Hogar

Cristina is still set for baptism this coming October 12th.  Ramón had an interview with the Bishop and has given the okay that he can baptize her!  It has been difficult for Ramón to quit his vices for the drink and the smoke, but together, Cristina and Ramón have been growing and seeing the blessings of following Christ!
We had an awesome Men´s Dinner activity, a photo is below.  We have such young studs in the ward.  It´s a great blessing because they add fun and energy to the ward.
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Below is also a picture of the awesome Granny that feeds us.  The one that loves eating with us, “chicos lindos.”
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We gave service to an in-active family this week, a picture of their boys on their make-shift cart below!  I hope their hearts will be softened by our service to return again.
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One thing I know is that my nature has changed through my study and application of the gospel.  I detest all types of sin!  My spirit is filled with such joy in the message of repentance and faith.  The message of the Restoration of the Gospel is beautiful and soul-satisfying.  My only wish is that all would be humble to hear this message and not cast it out due to their unbelief!  But apply the words of Christ read in the holy scriptures and spoken by the words of holy prophets.  So much uncomprehended joy is found in living the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
I will remember to detail more exciting stories for the next week´s letter :)
Transfers are next week.  I don`t want to leave Baigorria!!! But let the Lord´s will be done!
Love you all!
Elder Orme IV
Capitán EO