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 Hola,

We found a great little family! We´ve only had one lesson with them so far but they seem promising. The parents are married! Yes! It´s rare to find a married couple. Claudio and Lydiana Rodriguez with young girl Milagro.

We were contacting near our home. We walked up to a pleasant, blue home with 2 dogs in the dog-walk and a parrot yelping and climbing up the dog-walk gate. We clapped and a little, petit woman came out, Lydiana. We introduced ourselves and she was nice. A man walks up from behind who turns out and it´s her husband, Claudio. He greets us and we present ourselves. He turns a little cold as he explains how he has lost hope in religion because every church he´s tried has had people praising and showing off their false “righteousness” in church, but then being a completely different person outside. Therefore, he tries to walk in the light of Christ he has on his own. I didn´t think he was going to let us in but we asked him if we could enter his home and talk with them for a tad and he said yes! I was surprised! Cool! Let´s go for it! It was a great lesson. Claudio said on his own that he felt a good compelling feeling inside of him that brought contentment and peace to his heart. We told him…”that´s the Spirit!” They want to pray, ask the Lord, and study the Book of Mormon to find out more truthfulness. Claudio was apparently baptized in the LDS church when he was going to church with his friends as a kid…but completely forgot about all that. But he was really excited that he re-found this church and the promises it has. To be continued!…

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Culture: People drive however they want. I´m very surpised I haven´t seen a crash yet. I´ve seen dogs get hit by cars yes! but not car vs. car.
Another dead cat!
We´ve found a lot of people who used to live in the States…usually Florida, but returned to Argentina when it was hard for them to find work there. All of them have said, “I lived in the States, life is better there, here…it is not the same.” But they have work here. Much is governed by the way a country founds its principles and people! Every person´s home can be their own little stick of promised land as they found their home on gospel principles and strive to live them!

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Sergio said he would come to church this past Sunday, but didn´t. He’ll get there.

We wake up to ice on the ground now! Luckily we are warm enough!

If Argentina and USA win their individual Eighth Finals for the World cup…they will face off!! Both games happen the 7th of July.

Ah! Have a happy July 4th! What a fantastic holiday! Go throw a frisbee, eat a hamburger, and watch the fireworks for me!

Love you!

Elder Orme

A place called Empalme in Argentina

Hola y Hola!!!

Wow it´s very different to be emailing you in an interent cafe here in a little place called Argentina!!! Wow! I will relate what´s happened so far through my journal entries.  Today is my 7th day in this blessed place!:

Last day with Reagybaby.
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Departure to Argentina!
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Arrival to Argentina!
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I said my first castellano word to a full-blown Argentinan on the 10-hour plane flight over.  It was ¨aqui!¨ (¨here¨).  I said it to many Argentinans, in fact, who were looking for the bathroom in the back of the plane.  It was fantastic!  Sometimes they said some other things and I just smiled and said ¨Yo soy un misionero¨ (I am a missionary).

I had the opportunity to talk to some people about the gospel during travels.  I found them at the airports and was able to bear my testimony and give them pass-along cards and one family a pamphlet of ¨the Restoration¨.

When I stepped off the plane the humid smells of Argentina swept over me and it was perfect ha.  It´s much greener here than I had thought!  I thought it was more dirt.  We passed the Buenos Aires Temple!  After 4 hours we made it to the Mission Home.  It´s funny, just like we thought, a lot of Argentinans have the same look of North Americans. President and Sister Giuliani are great of course.  He and I had a good interview.  It was a fun, new day.  The beginning to an adventure.  The beginning of a mission!

With the President and his wife
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Mission home
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View from the mission home.
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My first companion and trainer is Elder Holloway from Boise, Idaho.  He likes baseball.  He and I get along well.  Something I’ve learned is to be a good trainee.  There are some things I wanted to get right into…like converting the whole country.  At first I didn’t really want to be led.  But I’ve humbled myself and adhere to his teachings and counsel and his decisions.  First of all, I don’t know the exact whereabouts of this whole place yet and he’s helping me get a grasp.  Second, something I’ve learned is that people need to learn from themselves if decisions are correct or not…and not just be told.  Just telling someone to do something doesn’t change things and can hurt someone.  But being an example and showing the way with patience without saying too much helps others to learn better.  Elder Holloway makes great decisions and he is good with his Spanish so I´m very blessed to have a companion that works and can talk for me!  I can’t really talk yet.  But when I feel an impulse by the Spirit to say something in my broken Spanish I do.  That’s all God asks of me right now is to go by the Holy Ghost and the language will come.  I study the language a lot and I´m slooowly beginning to understand the people.

When I first met elder Hollaway and we pointed to Empalme!
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A close up of my mission boundaries.
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My first area is called Empalme!  An area under the San Nicolas area/stake.  The ward is called Villa Constitucion, which is another slightly bigger area next door (this place has 2 Elders too).  So 4 elders in the ward.  Church yesterday went well.  Harder to stay awake when you can´t understand too much! But my focus was on the ward members because I want them to know that I love them and that they can trust me and my companion with their friends or even with themselves.  It was testimony meeting of course so we all bore ours.  I was able to say what was on my heart.  About 35 people probably were there yesterday.  It was storming and that kept a portion away.  It´s been storming these past 4 days and will probs continue for another 2.

Inside our apartment
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Empalme! Wow.  It is a humble district with its more kempt and less kempt sides.  You´ll find a lot of trash hanging around.  Perros, perros, perros (Dogs, dogs, dogs).   Some horrid looking some nice.  They make things fun.  Some dirt roads that get us all muddy because of the rain and some actual roads around the store area.  It a small area.  We walk everywhere and it´s not much walking.  I didn’t think it would happen so fast but I already love this place and more especially the people.

Empalme, the dirt road area
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We are working with a small group of people right now.  Some less-active members and some part-member families.  We´ve recently received a new investigator.  Something I want for us to do is show the people that we are here to serve them and actually do service for them and not simply preach.  Most people need to feel love before they will take in anything else.  I´m working on that with my companion about how to serve and show forth more love like Jesus Christ would do!

Some moments during my first few days were a little frightening just because everything was way over my head.  Mostly just because of the language.  I can´t wait to speak anything I want to these people!

Being here also makes me love my family and friends that much more!  I love you all!  Read the scriptures…a lot!  Especially the Book of Mormon. And pray everyday alone, with your spouse, and with your family.

Love,
Elder Orme