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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Busy Busy Busy!

These last two weeks have been our busiest so far! From Zone meeting two weeks ago with about 20 other missionaries on Tue. to hearing our Area Pres. & our Mission Pres. & their wives speak in Mendoza to all the missionaries & couples in our mission on Thur. , really kept us hopping. Pres. & Hermana Zabollas are from Chile. She speaks so fast that our ears couldn’t keep up with her tongue! However Pres. Zabollas and Pres. & Hermana Goates were much easier to understand. It was a wonderful meeting and such a blessing to be among all the missionaries at once. On Sunday, Mother’s Day, Linda got to teach her first Relief Society lesson in Spanish. So she began with hearty “Feliz Dia de las Madres” to all the women who just looked back with a blank stare. Come to find out, Argentina is the only country in the world that doesn’t have it on the second Sun. of May. They celebrate it in Oct.!?! So she gets two this year! The rest of the lesson went fine. Spent two days last week in San Rafael and Alvear to inspect 14 apartments. Managed to get all 10 in SR done from 9 am to 9 pm the first day. The hardest part is finding them! The directions are not very clear. The last one we did after dark in a little place called Salta de las Rosas. One of the Elders there is Tongan and comes from Oakland. He was so excited to find out that we’re from Vacaville because he lived there when he was 10. As we left he handed Fred a gold tie pin with the Oakland Temple on it. We were very touched! When we travel far, the Church puts us up in really nice hotels which we appreciate so much! Two of the sisters’ apartments needed help with their heaters. One was in a town about 30 mins. away and took two trips to get fixed . The other is in Uspallata two hours into the Andes Mtns. which we talked about last time. We made our second trip there this last Thur. and brought the Warners, the couple who work in the mission office, along. She is our mission nurse and it turned out that both Hermanas were sick so she was able to help them while Elders Maseda & Warner hooked up their heater. The Warners were so grateful to get out of the office ad see some of the country. As it turns out, we’ll be making that long trip one more time next week with the Warners to finish the job. Sat. was a special day We went on an outing with the six office Elders and the Rogers, another couple who are in San Martin (about ½ hour west of Mendoza). So for the third time this month we headed back up the Andes Mtns. This time we went an hour past Uspallata to a volcano called Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas. It has a big glacier on it which we could see quite well after we took the ski lift half way up an adjacent mountain. We also got to see Puente de los Incas, which is a hot springs and natural bridge among some huge rocks on a river. The minerals in the water have caused the rocks to turn a bright gold color. Really beautiful!! The week was capped off on Sun. with watching the broadcast of the dedication of the C√≥rdoba Temple, the second in Argentina. Pres. Uchtdorp, accompanied by Elder Christofferson, gave the dedicatory prayer followed by Elder Zabballos leading the Hosannah Shout. It was a spiritual feast!!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

It's Fall Y'all

It may be that spring has sprung for those in the northern hemisphere but here its fall y’all!! The change in color of the trees is awesome and makes for some great photo opportunities. It got down to the low 30s here last night and you would have thought it was 30 below by the way folks were dressed. We are staying warm in our little vineyard house. We went to San Martin this past week for more inspections. We are meeting some of the finest young missionaries as we travel around. There was a threesome of sisters living in their “castle” which is a member’s house with a small apartment. One each from Utah, Brazil and Peru. The highlight of the week was traveling deep into the Andes Mountains to a remote branch called Uspallata. It is nearly at the border with Chile. A beautiful little town in the mountains. The trip up had some absolutely stunning scenery. Believe it or not this first picture was taken by Linda through a glass window of our car doing about 60mph with an iPhone!! We had lunch there after doing 2 hours of repairs to the missionary pension. The two sisters were so thankful we did the work. The main item was a gas leak that meant they had to go outside and turn on the gas to cook then go outside to turn it off again to prevent the tank from emptying. Not to speak of not being able to use the heater at night. A couple of trips to the hardware store for parts and a little work left them happy campers. We then headed back down the mountains from above the clouds. President and Sister Goates were having a dinner for all of the senior missionaries and a farewell for one couple in Mendoza so we decided to take Route 52, the back way home, which we thought would be faster than the way we came up. It turned out to be more than we bargained for. A ride never to be forgotten! We knew something wasn’t going well when we ran out of paved road soon after leaving Uspallata and we didn’t see hardly any other cars. It turned out to be 40 – 50 miles of winding dirt road with a lot of switchbacks and very steep drop-offs. We were disappointed at first thinking of the obvious long journey ahead but it turned out to be worth it due to the breathtaking scenery and views. After the dinner Linda was the drawing winner of a Crockpot that the departing couple was leaving behind. I know that probably doesn’t sound particularly wonderful but since there are NO crockpots here it is a real gem!