Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Well it has been snowing here lately while you northerners are going through heatwaves and fires everywhere. We are just awed by the majesty of the Andes Mountains. It is a photographer’s paradise if you like mountain scenery. We took a trip up to Historic Manzano which is a place where General San Martin met with his troops back in the late 1700s in the fight for independence from Spain for Argentina, Chile and Bolivia. He let it be known that he was going to cross the Andes from there to attack the Spanish but the local Indians snitched him off to the Spanish. He knew this would happen and the Spanish fell for the decoy while San Martin attacked through another route further north through Uspallata. The rest is Argentine independence history. It is tourist place with museums and shopping to be had. There is a restaurant there with the best ever advertising! Nothing better to attract the gaze of hungry passers-by than huge racks of ribs cooking in plain sight over an open fire. We had a wonderful buffet meal there and left feeling like we had just finished a big Thanksgiving dinner. Beef ribs, sausage, suckling pig and goat all fire roasted plus a large selection of other stuff. We WILL be back! Our monthly outing with the other couple missionaries was in San Martin. We had a tour of an olive oil processing plant which also has a small hotel on site. It was very interesting seeing how they take the raw olives and reduce them to oil. President and Sister Goates were able to take time out from their busy schedule to be with us. A good mid-day meal was had by all. We also visited a family vineyard and got some insight into the things they do to get by. We finally finished all 80 of the inspections of the missionaries quarters in the whole mission just in time to start over in September. We are smarter now and more familiar with the lay of the land, so to speak, so we expect things will go much smoother on the second round. It was really great to get to see the whole mission and meet some very outstanding and wonderful young missionaries even if some of them come up a little short on housekeeping. We are still teaching some investigators and unbaptized members of different families in the branch. There is a baptism this Saturday for Judi Valdez who is a neighbor of ours. We have sort of adopted our landlord’s dog named Boni. She reminds us of our daughter Heather’s dog, Mocha. She has developed a habit of crossing her front paws when she is lounging around the house. She does not get much attention from the owner and is pretty much just a watch dog around here. Fred has been teaching her manners and she is a quick learner and good pooch. She loves coming indoors occasionally and likes to lie down on the mat in front of our couch for a nap. The mother of one of our members died and we went to the funeral. They do not embalm people here so they bury them quickly. This woman died at 1am and was buried at 5pm the same day! The cemetery was an interesting place. Some build shelters over the graves and it gives the cemetery a shanty-town look. Cultural diversity I suppose.