Monday, March 31, 2014

5 weeks in Argentina!

This week was much better than the last! We found a bunch of new investigators, had many lessons with members and I spoke a lot more to people on the street and in lessons!

The problem with last week is that we couldn´t complete our key indicators and the places we struggled most were in finding new people and having lessons with a member present. We found out this past week on Friday that we, or I, lacked the faith and determination to find new investigators and finish our key indicators each week. On Friday we had divisions with other missionaries in Loma Hermosa A: Elder Eraso (our Dirstrict leader) and Elder Pasket (who is from Utah) . So I spent the day with Elder Pasket in their area and Elder Eraso was with Elder Rivera in our area. It was a pretty good experience. Elder Pasket only has 3 months in the mission so he can understand and speak enough castellana to teach and talk to people but he doesn´t know his area very well so we got lost... once. But he did teach and help me understand many things I should be looking out for during each day and it was nice to spend the day with someone who could speak English fluently. Elder Eraso and Elder Rivera found a bunch of new investigators in our area and had many lessons with members which helped us get back on track. The main thing that we learned that day was that we simply need to show our faith in Heavenly Father and open our mouths and talk to everyone we can.

My castellana is coming along very well and I can see improvement every day! Now that I can understand people a lot better I am trying to speak a lot more and I am also contributing in lessons more too! For Example, Saturday I explained about the Apostasy and about Joseph Smith.

Other than that, not much happened this week. We had a big bag of empanadas for lunch on Tuesday, some guy tried to steal from us, we walk alot everyday, it rained pretty hard yesterday and we have a baptismal date set for one of our investigators for the 12th of April!

I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a missionary. It is hard, but it is well worth it!

Love,  Elder Giles

(Castellana is the dialect of Spanish that the Argentines speak with the "sh" sound)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday, March 24th

This week was hard. We didn't do as much teaching as we needed to and we couldn't find any new people to teach. It´s hard to keep going during the day when all we do is walk from door to door, referral to referral and we can´t find any one. We also had a good amount of plans with members but it seemed that this week was the week of last minute changes and failing plans. We were a little discouraged this week. However, I found that it was my attitude, my attitude towards being exactly obedient. So this week we are going to be more faithful, more diligent, and more obedient.

This week we were going to have a baptism on the 29th, but we found out last Saturday when we taught the Word of Wisdom that she drinks coffee. So we are going to change her date to April because there has to be a 3 week period for an investigator to break a habit before they can be baptized. Elder Rivera and I are very sad because we were super excited about her baptism this week, but we have her and another investigator set for April so we are going to do our best to prepare these people for their dates.

The weather has been very good to us. It cooled off during the middle of the week and is starting to warm up again. We haven´t had much rain, so that´s good.

We are still looking for a new apartment. We have talked to a few inmobiliarias and have found a few candidates in our area that are closer to our capilla.

Elder Rivera and I were able to exercise our priesthood this week and gave 3 blessings of health to two of our investigators and one to a member in our area!

This week I had an amazing experience. One morning Elder Rivera and I were doing our usual practicing during companionship study about our pre-earth life. Elder Rivera asked me a very simple, but profound question. He asked me what I believed what our purpose was on this earth. After thinking it through and bouncing around ideas about what I actually believed in, I came to the conclusion that our purpose on this earth is to receive joy through having an eternal family.Heavenly Father´s greatest joy comes through us, his children, and that´s what he wants for us, to have joy through our posterity. When the answer came to me, the Holy Ghost was right there to tell me that it was true and I felt the most wonderful and amazing sensation come over me. I felt joy! I was so happy that I cried like a little baby. I felt the love of Heavenly Father and I know that he is the father of our spirits and that loves us so much that he is willing to put us through trials on this earth in order to obtain the same amount of love and joy that he has through an eternal family.

A good scripture to explain the plan of salvation is 2 Nephi 2:14-30

I am so happy to be a missionary and to serve the people of Argentina!

I love you all!
Elder Giles

Cake from the Familia Valle! they are members who live next to us

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March 17, 2014
Each week just gets a little better than the last! This week was my first Zone Conference and we had a lot of good lessons.

So last week there was a change in our area. Our area is now called Loma Hermosa B, we got a chunk of the Hermana`s area which was Billinghurst A, and we are now in a different district. This is also a big change for the members and investigators in our area because we have to go to a different chapel in Loma Hermosa. We also have to find another apartment closer to the Chapel in Loma Hermosa because the one we have now, which is about 20 mins walking distance from the chapel in San Martin, is about 40 mins by bus and walking. So we need to find an apartment closer. This also makes it a little tougher to get our investigators to church, but I know that if we put our trust in the Lord and also do our part as missionaries, we can see miracles happen.

The Zone Conference was pretty good. We met at the Mission Offices in Ramos Mejia from 9 in the Morning until 2:00 in the Afternoon. It was basically training on how we can teach our investigators better and be better missionaries in general. Presidente and Hermana Carter and the AP`s spoke to us about various aspects of missionary work. One I remeber most was Hermana Carter`s lesson where she showed us various video clips of Basketball fails and had us apply what happened in the video to how a lesson with an investigator was going. The conference overall was very helpful and I learned a lot (from what I could pick out because everything was in Spanish) and we also had empanadas and pizza at the end for lunch!

My Spanish is improving each day! This week I could understand a lot more of what Elder Rivera and the people were saying and so I spoke a lot more too! I contributed in all of our lessons this last week and because of this we could feel the influnce and guidance of the Holy Ghost. I`m not saying that I`m super spiritual or anything it`s just that it fulfills what it says in the scriptures: "by the mouth of two or three witnesses shall my word be established"

We had about 20 lessons this week which, I think, is pretty good. We have one investigator who has a baptisimal date set for the 29 of this month. We talked with her this week and she is very excited to be baptized and we are super excited that she is excited to be baptized!

I am learning more and more about the Gospel and the Book of Mormon everyday! I love teaching and testifying because I know this Church is a true church and that the Book of Mormon is a true book. Some of my favorite scripture are:

Helaman 5:12
Ether 12:6,27
3 Nephi 27:13-22

Love you all!
Have a Great week!
Elder Giles

Elder Giles with his District at their first Zone Conference

Monday, March 10, 2014

Wow, another week has flown by! I am feeling a lot better as a missionary now that I am somewhat accustomed to how things go in Argentina.

The food here is pretty good. We usually have cereal for breakfast and then have a big lunch at one of the Member´s houses. So far my favorite thing to eat is Asado at Hermano Gomez´s house. We don´t have dinner because we get back to the apartment around 9 and then have to plan for tomorrow and do other stuff.

Spanish is coming along very well. I can see a slight improvement each day in my ability to speak and understand what people are saying. This week was really awesome because I could actually contribute in our lessons! I can feel a lot more power and the presence of the Holy Ghost when both of us are speaking and testifying. Elder Rivera does a good job of giving me opportunities to speak in our lessons and I also give him a little nudge when I feel prompted to say something. It is hard learning a new language when on a mission but I love it because I am learning to trust in the Spirit more and I can feel more of our Heavenly Father´s blessings.

We have had lots of experiences this week. One of which was on Tuesday when we were teaching one of our investigators. We asked her about how she feels in our lessons and were explaining to her that what she feels is the Holy Ghost. During the latter end of our explanation she felt a little whoosy and then sort of collapsed on the ground in front of her house. I don´t know if it was because she was overcome by the Holy Ghost or because she smokes but it freaked out Elder Rivera a little bit. We got her up and back into her house a few mintues later and everything was fine.

On Friday we were on our way to another appointment when we passed by a guy in front of his house and he started speaking English to us. He asked us about our purpose in being in Argentina and about our church in English and so I had to do most of the explaining to him. It was a little weird because I was caught off guard at the fact that we were speaking English and that I had to take the lead in talking to him instead of Elder Rivera. It was a cool experience because it helped me build confidence in talking to random people on the street and to know what is was like to talk more than my companion.

I love being here in Argentina! The people are great, my companion is great, and the members are great!

Elder Giles

first apartment with Elder Rivera

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lucas arrived safely in Argentina on Tuesday morning February 25th. This is his first email he sent to us on Monday, March 3rd.

This week was pretty weird. The change from the US to Argentina is starting to seem real and my feelings about being here are kinda jumbled. But, everything is alright! I am excited about being here and learning how to be a missionary and the language. On Tuesday we spent the day getting to know Presidente and Sister Carter and had a bunch of orientations. Wednesday the President met with us new missionaries and trainers and showed us a clip from the Lion King to demonstrate very simply the process of learning and teaching. A few hours later there was a 2 hour meeting where they showed some videos about the last transfer and the missionaries leaving gave their testimonies. Then the new tranfers/companionships were announced. My trainer is Elder Rivera! He is from Mexico and speaks fluent spanish and very little Engilsh and has been out for about six months. Then we hopped into our ride, dropped off my things at our appartment and then hit the road.

It is very hard to do anything or say anything when I have no idea what the people are saying and these past few days I have been a little disouraged. But I am trying really hard to understand and each day I can see a little improvement. Elder Rivera is really awsome because he does basically all the talking and I just sit there and listen and try to understand. He does help me to understand a little bit and some times in lessons he lets me explain a certain point, or I share a scripture or say a prayer. He is an awesome missionary and I can tell he loves the people and loves teaching the gospel.

The food here is not that much different then in the US. We have had pastas, some very good beef, breads and such. I had empanadas the first day and they were pretty good.

We did have one cool experience this week on Friday. After not having any success with talking to a particular investigator, a guy waved us over and asked if we had a Book of Mormon. We gave him a copy and he asked us a few questions. I couldn´t understand much but basically he asked us why we believe in what we believe. Elder Rivera and I bore awesome testimonies to the man and we all got a little teary eyed because the spirit was so strong. Elder Rivera also bore his testimony about Joseph Smith and challenged him to read the Book of Mormon, and he accepted. I felt like a real missionary! I can´t wait for more opportunities to share my testimony throughout my mission.

I love you all and hope you had a wonderful week.

Elder Giles

Presidente and Sis. Carter with Elder Giles, Buenos Aires Temple