Monday, December 2, 2013 8:02 AM

First with the companion; Elder Reynoso had ernias en su cintura o algo asi (I think Ben is saying hernias in his middle or back; perhaps a herniated disc? or something like that). Something he should have probably taken care of before his mission. We called president because he just didn’t know what to do the pain was so bad. So they took him away from me.... they stripped me of my beloved son. They opened a new area for him and another elder that has a lot of allergies and is sick and they are going to ride bikes to see if that will help. I really felt sad and miss Elder Reynoso we got along amazingly well and bit (knit?) a very strong bond for the short time that we had together. So I wasn’t too happy with that. In his place came Elder Correy. An 18 years old Yankee from Sandy, Utah! He is a newbie as well with only a week and a half in Argentina. He can speak Spanish better than I think I could when I had that time but of course struggles with it. To be honest it is harder to train him, and I really missed Elder Reynoso at first but I am trying to get over that, and I am starting to love just talking in Spanish and would a lot of times just prefer to talk in Spanish, but I need to use English to help him understand. I am starting to do better with that and I hope helping him out. He doesn’t have any health issues as far as I can see. I am really starting to love the Latin people and if the rest of my companions were Latin I would be happy. They also told me that because now I am a senior companion unless I do something bad I will be a senior companion for the rest of my mission. The Lord has just been giving me a lot of responsibility really fast on this mission. The language is coming along well; I can be a trainer in Spanish which is pretty amazing to me how much the Lord has blessed me with that. I obviously still lack a lot, but I gave a 40 or so minute gospel principles class on Sunday and it wasn’t really even a struggle. (It sure went a lot better than the one I gave in Glenview Ward). My mission is changing; it is completely different than it was just a few weeks ago. We are working so hard and I am getting so tired and it is so hot outside but I just am enjoying it more than ever before! We are getting more serious with the work and are seeing results. Alejandra is an investigator that we have had for more than a month, that we would just kind of teach lessons that weren’t super focus and you could tell she wasn’t retaining too much and wasn’t coming to church. So when elder Reynoso got here we gave her a more frank talk and said what she needed to do if she really wanted to be baptized. Then the next lesson we gave her a calendar that I asked Elder Juarez to make for me a long time ago, but Elder Aldana didn’t want to use because he didn’t like the idea. It has a calendar and the baptismal interview questions on it so she can see her fecha (date) that it is real and so we can write our next citas (appointment) with her and the reading she has to do. She asked us (reading some of the questions) who Joseph Smith was, even though we had already taught the first lesson. Afterwards she even told us that that lesson felt different than all the other ones before. We told her we would come back to get her for church so we could make sure that she came. Then when we went to pick her up, she was already ready. We didn’t have to wake her up or anything. She had already showered and everything, as well as the less active member she is living with. She is taking things more seriously and things are starting to change. They all came to church and really liked it, then after we had two baptisms of the other elders, so they got to be there to witness that. She has a date for the 21 to be baptized, and I really think that she is going to make it. I know that we are going to do our part, now it just is up to her. This week one of the sons of the Presidente de quorum (Elders Quorum President) died. He was young like 26 and got in a moto (car) accident and died. It was very unexpected and hard for them. We went during the day to their house and there was a bunch of people crying and we offered the hermana if we could do anything. I almost wanted to break the rules and just give that poor woman a hug, but I didn’t. Familia Casares (familia=family) they are called and they amazed me with their strength. The poor couple is active but none of their kids are and they have told us before how that worries them and now this happened. And then Hermano Casares (hermano=brother) made sure that his elders were still taken care of, that someone was there to teach the lesson and everything. We went to a viewing type thing because the hermano asked us to and we went. It strengthened me to see how strong those two were and that really their testimony of Gods Plan let them be sad but know that this is not the end. I could see their testimonies in the way they acted and held themselves. There were so many members of the ward there to help and comfort them as well. Seeing that family comforted and given brotherly love made me think, “como puede ser que esta iglesia no es verdadera?” (How can this church not be true?). It has to be true with members like that. I didn’t like this ward too much when I got here and I kind of thought they were just lazy people who weren’t really living the gospel. But over time these people are some of the best people I have ever met in my life. I will have the privilege to spend at least 3 more months with them, but when I have to go I know that I am not going to want to leave. The mission is so good, I am feeling the Spirit like I never have before, I am talking with people in the street about our Lord and Savior. Who else gets a blessing as great as that? I love the mission so much and I can’t wait to just keep doing it! The confidence is coming back. I had a lot of self confidence before and then lost a lot of it coming here and not knowing hardly anything or what was going on. Now the confidence is starting to come back and this is turning into what it really should be. The president told me that "you are always someone I can count on" that is a big responsibility to live up to, and I feel that responsibility every day, to train good, to live up to what my beloved family wants me to be and most importantly to be the kind of missionary the Lord want me to be. I love every one of you and wish you the best. Keep up the good work and keep opening your mouth about the gospel. I can’t wait to talk to you all in just a few short weeks!

Elder Andrew