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Sunday, March 22, 2015

The first week in Argentina

It was a long flight but we survived! We spent the first two nights in the mission home with the wonderful hospitality of President Goates and his wife. The first day was Zone Conference with all of the missionaries in our zone. We were thrown in the pool so to speak with regard to Spanish. We got about 60 percent of it! On the way to the conference Pres. Goates took us down town to change money on the "blue market". The official exchange rate at the banks is 8 pesos for one dollar but the blue market is higher and is comprised of a bunch of individual entrepreneurs. The more you exchange the better the rate. Well we brought $5,000 in cash so we decided to exchange it all in one swoop. Linda and Sis Goates stayed in the car and Pres Goates and Fred went to do the deal. It was in a cage located under a large building in Central Mendoza. Pres Goates and Fred took off their name tags and went in. We got a 12.6 to 1 rate which is very good. The guy behind the counter kept a poker face and never uttered a word as he counted out packets of cash. Problem was that Fred got a stack of money about 6 inches high and had to stuff it in four different pockets in his suit and carry it around all day at the conference. They went in one way and left via another for security concerns. It had a little taste of doing a deal with the Mafia BUT ALL LEGAL!! We finally got to where we will be working. La Consulta is a little town of about 8,000 people. Well we are in a "suburb" of La Consulta called Eugenio Bustos. We are making friends with the people in the local shops and dining establishments. Kind of a podunk little town but we love it. Siesta is from 1pm to about 5pm and the town literally shuts down during that time with the exception of an ice cream place and a little shop like a very mini 7-11. Our house is not ready yet so we have been staying in a hotel. Very tiny rooms. Sort of like a Motel 3. We have to move the suitcases around like checkers so we can get around. The house should be almost ready tomorrow but we are moving in regardless. Found out Fred's iphone 6+ is worth over $2,000 here. Gotta keep an eye on it. Linda's iphone 6 is not much cheaper. Went to church this morning. Still trying to figure out what language they are speaking! They speak very fast and we are going to have to up our game. We will have appointments this week with some inactive members that we can start working with to try and get them back into activity.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Hemos terminado la semana en el MTC

Well, we have completed our week at the MTC. The week was best described by Annette Wells as "Gospel Disneyland". There was a lot of good training and wonderful people to meet. It was also great to see and mingle with all of the young missionaries. Probably close to 1500. Approximately 100 were couples like us. Eating in the dining hall is like eating in the high school cafeteria. With the age requirement change the sister missionaries are almost half the population. They are actually expected to outnumber the elders in a few short months. It is reassuring to see all of their youthful energy and enthusiasm focused in such a good direction. Friday we got a call from our good friends Bob and Julynn Simmons who took us to dinner and then over to see some other good friends Terry and Danne Morris. We all had met in Indonesia when we were posted there for five years with the US State Department in the late 90s. The Morrises were serving a humanitarian mission at the time and helped us decide that we would serve a mission some day. It was great to renew our friendships and kick around some old times and memories. Anyway, we are off early Monday morning from Salt Lake to Atlanta then to Buenos Aires. We change airports for the last leg west two hours to Mendoza.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

MTC Life

We arrived at the Mission Training Center in Provo, UT Sun. night. They gave us our missionary name tags right away...what a thrill to put them on!! We've been fed very well...good thing there's an exercise room on our floor! We had an orientation mtg. Mon. and started our classes today. We were divided up into "districts" of 4 couples in each. Fred got selected to be our District leader. They have young returned missionaries teaching us. What a surprise to find out our teacher served in the Argentina Mendoza Mission where we are going!! It will be great to get some inside info from him. Tonight we went to a an evening devotional with Elder Quinten L. Cook, one of the Lord's 12 Apostles. He told an interesting story about a young Polynesian man whose parents both had a dream about where he would serve his mission before his call arrived. The Mom dreamed he was going to Washington, D.C. and the Dad said no, he was going to Japan because he saw the face of the Mission President and he was Japanese. When his call arrived in the mail, they were both right. He was called to Washington, D.C. where the mission Pres. is a Japanese man!! By the way my purse with all our kids' family pictures on it is a big hit! When we were introducing ourselves at the orientation meeting, the MTC Pres.' counselor who was conducting asked me to hold it up so all could see! Now I'm swamped with questions about it everywhere we go.

Friday, March 6, 2015

It's official.....We are missionaries

This is our first post and will serve as a test of sorts.

President Bennett set us apart at the Stake Center last night.  So it is official!  We are missionaries!  We were able to have a lot of family members present.  It was a wonderful time.  President Bennett made it a very special time for us and we both feel that we really needed those blessings he pronounced upon us. 

We caught a flight to Salt Lake this morning and will be spending the weekend with our daughter Karmen and her family in Farmington.  She will drop us off at the MTC Sunday evening. We look forward to the training we will get there.  Then Monday the 16th we will be off to Argentina via Miami-Buenos Aires-Mendoza.  A 22 hour trip.