Sooo...I was sooo sad when my battery died on the plane!! We ended up waiting for an hour to take off!! We could have had sooo much more time. Oh well. So, as you know, my last few days at the MTC were awesome. My district sang in church, we packed lots, talked with each other lots, studied...(not as much as we should have but still lots), we took lots of pictures, said goodbye, cried a bit, and then got on the plane!! All those goodbyes were apparently for nothing because when we got to Argentina all the missionaries from our district but 2 were in that big meeting we had in the area office. So...we had a round two of goodbyes. Awesome. We didn't fly to Comodoro until 7:30PM on Thursday night. President and Sister Rogers were on our flight. They were coming back from a mission president conference. As I mentioned in the letter, Hermana Kuhn and I stayed at the mission home on Thursday and Friday nights...which is like a 5 star hotel (just a small version) ...so it wasn't until Saturday night that I got a little taste of what the next 18 months is going to look like.
We were assigned companions and areas on Saturday afternoon and then Saturday night we took a five hour bus ride to....TRELEW!! My first area is Trelew South, specifically Rawson, and my companion is Hermana Cortes from Colombia. She's amazing!! She doesn't speak English, which is equally frustrating when I don't know the word in Spanish as it is helpful for learning. But we're going to get along really well and work really hard. I'm excited. Anyway, my pension is tinyyy! Probably 5 of them could fit in our house in Orem. Don´t even get me started on the toilet or shower. Let's just say I´m reallyyy grateful for the flip flops I have:) It´s really not terrible, just very different from home. It works though and it´s not like we spend tons of time chillin´ in our apartment anyway:) Sooo...we got in around midnight and went straight to bed. We met our zone leaders and the mission leader and his wife from our ward. They´re amazing!!
Sunday morning church is at 9:30AM. The members here are incredible. So friendly and so strong in the church. We start with Relief Society, then Gospel Doctrine, then Sacrament Meeting. I could feel the Spirit so strongly as I tried to catch everything that was being taught. I´ve never felt the Spirit so strongly in church. These people truly know what it means to have the gospel in their lives. It was so cool. And, Sacrament Meeting? Primary Program. Everyone knows that this meeting is my FAVORITE of the entire year. OH. MY. HECK. Just a heads up, I might never come home. The kids were soo cute and they sang so well! It´s such a different culture...but I love it!! Everyone was so welcoming and so kind about speaking a little slower than normal for me:) I can understand about 85% of everything people say if I´m really paying attention, and when someone´s talking directly to me about 95%.
So, the first night in the mission home, I was talking to President Rogers while Hermana Kuhn was in the shower and he told me that he takes really good care of the Hermanas and so do the Elders in the mission. He was right. There are 6 missionaries in my district here in Trelew, 4 Elders and my companion and me. They came over yesterday morning and brought us breakfast since we hadn´t had time to shop for food...still haven´t now that I think about it...and they walked to Church with us so we wouldn´t get lost. They call us every night to see if we need anything. They brought us to the cybert (internet cafe) this morning to talk to you. They´re great. Only downside...they are all also natives...so in case you don´t understand what that means...I´m the ONLY one in my district who speaks English!! Wohoooo. But really it´s the best. I have learned soo much. It looks like I´ll be in Trelew until after Christmas (12 weeks for training, and then most likely I´ll be a trainer. FREAKY. I´m hoping for at least one more transfer before I have to train...fingers crossed.) Anyway, dad, I´m still working on my address. I have no idea where we are most of the time, but I´ll try to have my address by next week.
Sooo...Sunday after church Hermana Cortes and I ate at the home of the Family Nievas. They are an extended family living together and are a part-member family. It was so cool. We ate lots and lots of MEAT. We shared a message about service and the Savior and then we visited the Mayor family. They´re an awesome member family who is very involved with the missionaries. It´s a custom in Argentina (and South America) that whenever someone comes to your home you have to serve them some sort of food. I never want to take people´s food, but it´s rude not to. Anyway, in Argentina like I told you before, dinner doesn´t exist. Lunch is at 1:30ish and then no one eats again until breakfast. Weird, right? I guess they do eat whenever someone comes to their house, but not much, only a few crackers and juice or something. I don´t understand. Anyway, after we visited with the Mayor family, Belen, their 19 year old daughter, came out with us and we knocked on some doors of some menos actives. We spent time with the Family Reyes. The mom is the only one that is active. The father hasn´t been to church in 10 years. He says he knows what he needs to do, but he´s not humble and that it´s hard to always live the gospel and do everything he´s supposed to. He doesn´t always have the desire. The kids are all grown and making their own decisions and followed the path their dad chose. We talked about the Atonement and how it can help us change and overcome the natural man and invited him to church and he said he would see. Hopefully he shows up next Sunday with his wife but I wouldn´t be super surprised if he doesn´t. Fingers crossed.
After visiting them we went to choir practice and then we visited Hermano Cortez with the four Elders from our district. He´s not active and has a problem with the way the church is run in some parts of South America. It´s really sad. He seems to think that because the gospel of Jesus Christ is perfect, that the church is perfect. Obviously we still make mistakes, but he doesn´t seem to be able to accept that. We´ll keep trying:) The Elders walked us home and then we got ready for bed. First experience with the shower. Here we go. So, the shower is a little square (about 3ft x 3ft) but there can only be about 2 inches of water at the bottom before it flows out of the shower....the drain is EXTREMELY slow. So to shower and wash your hair, you have to turn the shower on for a few minutes and get wet, then turn it off while you shampoo. Turn it back on and rinse it out and then turn it off again. Then repeat the process with conditioner....get the picture? You always have to be watching to make sure you don´t flood the apartment. Fun times. Yay!!
Well, I hope you're all doing well! I love you all so much and I loved talking to you last week!! I'm doing well despite the culture shock. Everything is still very new. Milk comes in bags. What the?! Dogs are EVERYWHERE. Oh...I do have to tell you, that the music here is great. I know, I know, we're not supposed to listen, but when it's playing on the bus or the streets there's not much you can do. Anyway, they listen to a lot of the American music but only the good stuff. The very first song I heard in Argentina was John Lennon "Stand By Me" then a few songs later was Michael Jackson "Bad" then a few songs later was Queen. We even had some Rolling Stones...haha.. Matthew you'd like the music down here:) only the classics:)
Well, I gotta go! Love you all and talk to you next week! Hopefully I'll have some good stories and I just realized that this whole letter I've been using the accent mark on the keyboard for all of the apostrophes. I hope they come through on your computer. :)
Love you all forever and always!!