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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Late Spring Snows

We went back to Manzano with the other missionary couples in the mission for our monthly outing. This is one of the places General San Martin used to formulate his plan for crossing the Andes Mountains to engage the Spanish Army in liberating Argentina, Chile and Peru.  It had snowed about 3 inches and it really made the place look different than the last time we were there.
This is the actual Monument that was built in the 1950's to honor San Martin.
No this is not a close-up of a golf ball.  It is actually the texture of one of the walls inside the museum.  Those dimples are about 3 inches across. The designer had to be a golfer!
We could not resist making a little snow man!
We all got indoors out of the chilly snow to enjoy a wonderful buffet lunch of beef ribs, suckling pig, sausage and goat plus a bunch other goodies and yes some healthy stuff too!
We finished the last of our overnight trips to do inspections of the missionaries housing.  San Rafael is a beautiful area where we saw some of our old missionary friends again.  Wine country of course and we found this interesting work of art in the center of one of the large roundabouts in the city.
Transfers are both a happy time and a sad time.  After working shoulder to shoulder with these young missionaries for awhile it comes time for some of them (all of them eventually) to move along to a new area in the mission.  We miss them and wonder if we will ever again cross paths.  On the other hand it is exciting to get new missionaries transferring in with all of their renewed enthusiasm and energy. 
We have started and are continuing a tradition of taking all of the missionaries in our district to lunch at transfer time just for one last get-together.  
They celebrate Mother's Day in October here so Linda got to have TWO this year.  Our branch president had all of the men produce a video from the family to the Mom.  We had a big party at the chapel and all of the moms got a little gift presented by family members.  Then all of the videos were shown.  Linda was VERY surprised to see the one our kids put together for her.  Thank you internet. 
All of this took about 4 hours while one of the dads barbequed a large quantity of chicken out back.  We had a wonderful meal that started around 10:30pm with about 55 in attendance.   Yes that is not a typo, 10:30.  Dinner here is commonly between 9 and midnight due to the siesta between 1 and 5 which pushes the work-day late into the evening.

Yes we are not just traveling and having parties.  We are very engaged in missionary work.  As the Elders Quorum President Fred is busy organizing the home teaching routes.  It is so much easier now with all of the reports and organization being available online.  We are presently teaching 3 investigator families.  Humble people who live out on some of the farms and we hope for some baptisms as they embrace the gospel.  We along with another couple plan on a 3 day trip to Santiago Chile next week to attend the Temple there.  Crossing the Andes will be fun. Stay tuned!




Monday, October 5, 2015

A Useful Pioneering Project

All of the missionaries in our district went to the San Carlos Museum for P day. It is on the site of an old fort from the 18th century and only a corner of the original is left but it was very informative and we all had a good time. We are currently teaching some Bolivians in Chacon which is a small community about 5 – 10 minutes from our house in Eugenio Bustos. They do farm work for a living, are poor and live in humble conditions. Their houses are one room and are self-made from the log trimmings from the saw mill. Inside is a layer of black plastic for water proofing then covered with cardboard for insulation. No windows! Ponciano and Hilda Estrada’s (plus two small children) house has a concrete floor and a woodstove but Wilbur Acua’s floor is dirt with no heater. Neither had any chairs and we taught the first lessons with everyone sitting on the only bed in the house. We since have given them a couple of plastic chairs. Not sure how they afforded it but the Estradas have a pickup. The other day we were visiting and Fred helped them in building a “carport” from bamboo. Reminded him of doing pioneering projects with the scouts. Notice in the 2nd picture that Hilda carries her one year old daughter on her back while working around the house and yard. It worked out pretty well and all were happy with the final product. We gave the Book of Mormon kids version to another family we have been teaching and a couple of the kids, Miguel and Anita, immediately sat down by the fence and started reading. Such sweet kids! We came across a van that was Wal-Mart on four wheels. They had a little of everything! The inspections continue with a trip to San Luis and parts east. It is about a 4 or 5 hour drive and almost half way to Buenos Aires. Look who we found hanging out in downtown San Luis with her torch held high outside a casino! We passed a little town with a familiar name! Amy and Donna Fraga should be proud.
The follow up on maintenance items was a bit complicated and often never got done so the Mission President authorized Fred to issue work orders for repairs directly to a contractor which cuts through a lot of previous red tape. Some things from your career just have a way of following you around.
Our widowed landlord, Delia got a new little dog named Pompi from her children and he is a perfect little companion for her. 
We had Elder Wakley and Elder Lott over to our house for all five sessions of General Conference streaming over the internet Saturday and Sunday.  Our best efforts to fill their stomachs was futile.  They enjoyed the ribs, spaghetti and other assorted foods.  Linda had to make a special trip to the store Monday to resupply the depleted shelves and fridge!  Conference was really great with three new Apostles called to replace the ones who had passed.
Putin' on the armor!
Found this cool picture in one of the pensions we inspected so I took a picture of the picture.