Monday, December 21, 2015

No 2 Days Are Ever the Same

Email written: 12/21/15
A "little" Christmas cheer thanks to Missionary Packages of Argentina
This week was a very different week to say the least. On Tuesday, we had interviews with President and we talked a lot about goals especially after the mission with a focus on marriage even though I still have a year and a half left.... But one of the things I took away from the interview is what president told me about whatever I do in this life I have to go big and it´s helped me keep working here and set better goals for after the mission.

Wednesday was a normal day but then came Thursday. Elder Cruz in the morning was talking about some back pain but he figured he could just sleep it off. So then we went to a member´s house and after 30 minutes of sitting down, Elder Cruz couldn´t get up. It took him almost 40 minutes to get up and walk to the door. We tried calling a remis but none of them wanted to enter the villa. Luckily after some prayer and thinking we had a member who had a car and took us to a public hospital. After 3 hours of nothing they told us to go to the private hospital that we have insurance for. At 5 we got to the hospital britanico and after some waiting the doctors had an idea but he needed and MRI and his appointment was at 11:30pm. So we had to wait around the hospital a lot, but luckily at about 9 the Elders from the area near the hospital visited us and brought us food because we didn´t eat all day. We got home at 3am Friday and had to go back at 9 the same morning to read his results. Luckily it´s nothing too serious, he has a bulging disc and needs about 3 weeks to recover. But we can still work, just not as much.
The heat this week wasn´t too bad (or maybe it was because we didn´t go out much) and the hottest it got was when we burned Elder Cruz´s shirt to celebrate his 1 year (and my 6 months). 

And on Sunday we had another baptism- Luciana. Her mom was the one I talked about 3 weeks ago as one of our miracles. Not only did we baptize Luciana but her mom is now full active again and has become our mom of our area.   -Elder Steele

Monday, December 14, 2015


Email written: 12/14/15

This week was the first full week in my new area and I really do love it. First of all, Elder Cruz is like my brother from Mexico and we get along and teach so well together (and our new nickname is Tex-Mex because there is no better combination). Aside from all the fun we did work this week. We had 7 progressing for baptism (minus 1 that was baptized yesterday and another one we had to drop) and we have been working so well with the members recently. We have continued to see so many miracles and it is truly incredible to see.
But with all the ups, there has to be a few downs. This week we had 3 days (thankfully not in a row) without lunch, the heat/humidity/mosquitos are killing us at night because we don´t have a/c or even a fan, we´ve been 3 days without a phone, and one of our strongest recent converts was drunk on Saturday and it was so heartbreaking. But those downs have really helped us appreciate even the smallest miracles we see day to day.
Like I mentioned above, we did get a baptism this week, Lucia. Her mom was baptized 2 weeks ago and now it was her turn. It was nice to see how happy she and her family were. Sadly we couldn´t get a picture because the ward mission leader wanted to speed things up. But I do have a picture of what happens when you show up early to zone meeting (the 3rd elder is Elder Romero from Spain and yes we do talk to him with the lisp and it´s really fun).   -Elder Steele

Monday, December 7, 2015

The White Elephant in the Room

Email written: 12/7/15

Well I had my first week in my new area. And all I have to say is WOW. It´s such a cool area. It´s a villa (villa oculta) and has the Elefante Blanco, which was planned to be the largest hospital in Latin America but it never got finished so now it´s just a giant abandoned building in the middle of our area. Seriously, I love my area and Elder Cruz is the best. We´ve worked really hard this week and have 4 baptisms set for the next 2 weeks and a ton of more possibilities. This has started out as an awesome transfer and we know it´s only going to get better. 

Photo courtesy of Roberto Montano
One of the reasons it´s gone so awesome is the amount of miracles (both big and small) that we see everyday. Everything from the members instantly gaining our trust and giving us references without asking to meeting old members who have children and grandchildren of baptism age. One of them is Miriam. We were looking for a house and this lady crosses us and says ´´hola elderes´´ and I looked at her and figured she was a member and because I´m new I don´t know many so I shrugged it off. Then she said it 2 more times and was walking away. Then Elder Cruz asked me if she called us Elders and then he ran after her and talked to her. Turns out she was baptized 10 years ago in Formosa but was inactive. She told us her daughter is 9 and wants us to baptize her. We have seen so many amazing things this week and we know that if we grow out faith, stay obedient, and work diligently, we are going to do great things here in Villa Oculta.    -Elder Steele

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Remember The Alamo

Email written: 12/1/15

So today is transfer day and for the first time in 4.5 months I am in a different cyber with a companion that does not speak English (ok he speaks a little bit). I got transferred to Parque Avellaneda Oeste and am with Elder Cruz from Mexico (hence the Alamo). As much as I loved last transfer, I am ready for some changes and this seems to be what I needed. I am really looking forward to see what we can do in this area. When we arrived to the pension I felt something I didn´t think I´d feel; I actually miss Soldati. I think it´s because Soldati was my first area and I finally left.

So for my last week in Soldati it was like most of the others; a lot of work with little to show. It was like we had really put all our efforts in to Guadalupe and Brian (and some other possibilities) and since they are baptized we were kind of left with nothing. But Brian´s Dad was drunk yesterday and got in Elder Garcia´s face and wanted to fight him. Other than that nothing exciting.

Sunday was the despedida and it was good but a little long. And after on the train there were some people singing/playing guitar and one of the songs they did was Forget You (but you know the word isn´t forget) and I just looked at Elder Garcia and said Seriously? Then one guy sitting by us turned to me and said in English ´It sounds better with the word Freak right? So then we got to talking and he is from Argentina but learned English on his mission (same mission as my MTC teachers Hermano Weekes). It was funny to talk with him. 

Thursday we got to have a special meeting with the whole mission which probably was really good but I don´t really know because... (Mom and Dad I don´t want you to worry so don´t read the next part.) I was sick. I had something they call here the Double Dragon (which pretty much means that I was in the bathroom at 3am with my lunches coming out both ends.  #welcometoSouthAmerica). So after the meeting President´s wife told me just to go home and drink lots of water and sleep so that´s what I did. Then Friday,Saturday and Sunday I was still kind of iffy but yesterday I was able to eat and be fine so I´m all better now.

Can´t believe it´s already 6 months, BUT I can´t be counting down the days because Hermano Montaño told me that every day in the mission isn´t one more day in the mission, but it´s one less and I have to work and enjoy every single one because it won´t always be like it is here on the mission. 

-Elder Steele

Monday, November 23, 2015

Soldati is on the Comeback

Email written: 11/23/15

What a week. Every companionship this week had a baptism and it was just a really good feeling that all the hard work that we´ve put in not only this transfer but the past few transfers. 

The 2 baptisms we had were Guadalupe and Brian. 

Guadalupe has known the missionaries for almost a year and 2 of her kids got baptized in March but she has just kept waiting and there was always something to make her push her baptism back but she finally entered the waters of baptism and she was so happy and after she told me she was waiting for a missionary like me and I was really humbled. 

Brian got baptized too and he is such a sweet little kid. Now his family is complete and it´s helping his mom get back to church. 

This is the last week of this transfer and I feel good. Everyone in the zone thinks I´m staying and yesterday I was thinking and I´d be ok with another transfer here. I´m ready to just keep working.    -Elder Steele

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Heat is Turning Up

Email written: 11/16/15

So this week we went in to it feeling really good about reaching our goal of 52 lessons. We had a good start then everything just got stacked against us. It´s either been brutally hot, or pouring rain which means no one wants to be outside so we can´t contact. Then Elder Garcia has been sick all week so he´s had to deal with that. And to top it all off everyday our members fell through, so we could not reach our goal, but we worked harder than ever.

 On Wednesday morning I was talking about how I haven´t done tramites yet (aka I've been illegal for 1 month) and just then the phone rang and it was the secretary telling us that I had tramites on Friday. Then Thursday while setting up a baptism for Friday afternoon  we got a message that we were going to the temple Friday morning. So that night was a sick companion I had to plan, coordinate the lunches for the 8 elders (because the new relief society president is in our area), and figure out how we are going to the temple, tramites, and having a baptism. So I called the secretary and he said because we had the baptism, we could skip tramites. After a good temple session (and photoshoot beforehand. Just look at that picture) we left to check our phone to see if everything was good for our baptism, but the message read ´´Elderes. Ella no llegó a la capilla.´´ and I was done. It ruined the rest of the day up until we went to see her that night when she explained how she had to go to the police station and her phone didn't have credit. So we moved her baptism to this coming week.

Speaking of baptisms, that same Thursday we had a vianda (where the member just gives us lunch in a tupperware container) so we took it to eat in the house of another member and with that we started talking and the family told us the son of the lady who gave us the vianda is 9 and wants to get baptized, so right after lunch we went to see Brian and we are getting him ready for Saturday where as of right now every companionship (4) in the ward of Soldati is going to be baptizing.
This transfer is almost over and we are running out of time to get work done in Soldati. Also tomorrow I hit 5 months and looking back it´s been rough and right now it feels like I don´t have much to show for it. A lot of people think that the mission is just one amazing incredible experience after another day in and day out, but in reality, it´s just a lot of hard hard work waiting for the day when it will be all worth it. It feels like time is running out already because so much time has already passed and in reality I don´t have that much left, and with those feelings I can either use them to get discouraged or work more. I just don´t want to fail. 

-Elder Steele

Monday, November 9, 2015

Shake n´ Bake Baby

Email written: 11/9/15

So this week was the week we worked hard for. When they first told us about the 52 lesson goal we all thought how in the world, but last night when filling out the weekly numbers, Elder Garcia and I got to fill out Lessons with Member: 53. we couldn´t believe it and it was such a good feeling. We had truly worked all day every day giving everything and we ended up with the lessons. But it´s more than numbers, we learned that greater things are possible if we can put enough faith, patience, and diligence in. We only have 1 with a baptism date, but we have a lot others we are working with this week and the greater miracles are going to be coming in no time. 

So speaking of Shake n´ bake, it´s how Elder Garcia and I have been able to do our contacting goal. I have really tried to eliminate all fear of talking to people but because I really don´t know what I´m doing some of the time and that´s where Elder Garcia comes in and seals the deal. It´s a pretty good system. 

So with our 1 investigator with a date, Aldo Esteban, it´s very interesting. When we first talked to him we kind of though no way anything will happen because he smokes wayyy too much. But we´ve been talking to him and he´s been to church 3 times already. I was a little nervous to teach the word of wisdom but we taught with a lot of authority and put goals to help him quit smoking and get ready for his baptism date. 

Ready for another week of hard work and miracles. 

-Elder Steele

Monday, November 2, 2015

Moving Day and Thanks for the package!

Email written: 11/2/15

So this past week we moved apartments and it was kind of a mess. The secretaries that came to help couldn´t come until 9:30 PM so we had to stay up until 11 PM 2 nights in a row. But now we are all settled in and it´s nice to have a bigger apartment and 2 more Elders (Lobato and Brady). 

So last week we couldn´t do our 3 day miracle, BUT this week we pulled it off. We didn´t try for a 3 day miracle but members and plans kept falling through to where we had 1 lesson going into Friday. Then Friday we got 8, Saturday we got 10, andSunday we got 2. 21 lessons in a week! Just a few weeks ago we were only getting between 7 and 13. Things are really turning around and it feels good. Part of what helped was on Thursday we had Elder Gonzelez from the 70 come talk to us to help us raise our vision and push to the end of the year. The goal for baptisms for the mission in 2015 is 1600, and we only lack 537 to get there. He talked a lot of faith and I felt motivated. With that I was able to do my 10 daily contacts (which means talk to at least 10 people in the street everyday) and really seek for those opportunities to have lessons. In the meeting we also were presented with a new weekly goal of lessons: 52. When we all heard this it was a ´´seriously. How are we supposed to do this?´´ But now after how we´ve been working we know it is possible. Between me, Elder Garcia, Elder Lobato, and Elder Brady we have talked about what we can do. This week we are going to work and pray harder than ever before. We are going to give up the rest of our p-days this transfer. We are going to have to do more than 20 contacts a day. This is going to be a difficult week, but by Sunday night so very rewarding. I am so ready to turn it up in the monoblocks.
With baptisms we have Guadalupe planned for the 7th and then a family we found on Saturday (reference from the mission president´s wife) have the date for the 22 of November.

-Elder Steele

I can´t believe yall sent me a basketball. Love you both so much! 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Oohh. Almost Had It!

Email written: 10/26/15

So this past week was set up to be a really great one. We always have the goal to get 20 lessons with members. But the things is no one in the zone has done it for the past 4 months or something. Elder Garcia came here with the attitude of ´´20 lessons sí o sí´´ which means there is no way we aren´t going to get 20 lessons. Here´s how the week looked

Monday- Still with Elder Hatch and we couldn´t get any lessons
Tuesday- Transfers and Pday which meant only about 2 hours of work and we didn´t get a lesson
Wednesday- All our appointments fell through so no lessons
Thursday- We got 7 lessons! That was the most I've ever gotten in a day and there have been some weeks where we only have 7 for the entire week. 
Friday- Had to go to Provincia in Derqui so we couldn't work. 
Saturday- Had 6 lessons. 

On Saturday night we felt so good. We were going to pull a miracle and get 20 lessons in only 3 days! And we were waiting for 8 people to come to church. But then Sunday came and we only got 1 investigator to church. After church we went to lunch and got a call from the zone leaders and they told we all have to go home after lunch and stay there because it was election day and we need to avoid any problems. And there went our 3 day miracle. We were bummed because we totally knew we were going to have all those lessons and get more investigators but it just didn't happen.  What it showed us though was how possible it is to stretch ourselves and work even harder. So this week, sí o sí we are getting 20 lessons. Good news is that Guadalupe still has her baptism date for November 7th!  On Thursday we got to go to Derqui, which is in the Provincia because the area got whitewashed. This meant that both Elders in the area are new and don´t know anything about the area. Because my companion Elder Garcia was in Derqui last transfer, President asked him to come back to teach the Elders the area. So we spent the day walking around and teaching. Provincia is so different from Capital. It was so open and nice and tranquil out in Provincia and I enjoyed it, but at the same time made me miss the monoblocks a little bit. 

I had a dream last night that freaked me out. All that I remember is that I had a panic attack and had the thought ´´I'm running out of time quick and I don´t feel like I've done anything here.´´ Now yall are probably thinking ´´Oh he has 20 months left, what is he worried about´´ but the truth is, time is passing by quick and not a second can be lost. There are some days where they don´t feel like they have an end, but the days and the weeks overall and flying by. These feelings can be used either as a tool for feeling discouraged or for motivation to really truly give all my heart, might, mind, and strength every single day. I´d rather get rejected by 20 people and come back to the apartment tired and hungry than finish the day feeling great but knowing I held something back. I don´t know what the Lord has for me to do here in Soldati, but all I can do is pray and work everyday to try to accomplish my purpose here. 

-Elder Steele

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

At Least We´ve Had 1 Miracle

Email written: 10/20/15

So if yall didn´t know, we went the whole month of September and this first half of October without hot water or gas in our pensión which meant we walked to pompeya´s pensión every morning. But on Saturday morning I was washing dishes and noticed the water was coming out a little warmer than usual. I then turned the hot water knob and the hot water came out! I told Elder Hatch to turn the shower on, and hot water came out of there too! The stove and oven still don´t have gas but at least we can shower in our own pensión now which is a huge blessing. 

Today is transfer day and I´m staying. Elder Hatch finished his mission on a good note. We had a lot of rough times relating to missionary work, but I am thankful I always got along with him and that he was always obedient. My new companion is Elder Garcia from Utah. Everyone told me he this is his last transfer but he just told me that he has 2 more left. I am excited to keep working in the blocks and feel that we are going to turn it around this transfer. 

Not much happened this week. We have Gaston but we go 3 to 4 days without seeing him so we don´t know what it going to happen. Guadalupe has a date for November 7 and she seems all good to go for it. We just have to find more people and work more with the ward. 

Here´s me in the Villa making asado.

-Elder Steele

Monday, October 12, 2015

¡Vamos River!

Email written: 10/12/15

P-day last week was really good. We went to Siga La Vaca, which is one of those unlimited meat restaurants and it was so good. We had a little competition to see who could eat the most, and being from Texas, I won. I would have eaten more but the mashed potatoes were too good and way too filling. Then we went to the River Stadium which was really cool. We just missed the last tour but we still got pictures and went in to the part of the museum. 

With P-day as awesome as it was it really set us up to have an attitude of positivity for the week. This week was almost nothing in terms of progress. We do have one; Gaston. He is really awesome and is working towards baptism. But other than him we've had a down week. Well if you look at it, my mission to this point has been a pretty big slump. The whole zone is struggling. But even with all that, we aren´t down on ourselves. This is where my life has prepared me. First being a Detroit Lions fan, when they went 0-16 was brutal, but that meant when they got the little wins it was even better. Then also my 6th grade basketball team The Spurs. We lost game after game and finally the last game of the season we won. This has given me hope that something big is coming at some point later in my mission and the only way to appreciate it is going to be by struggling now. 

Another thing that has helped me stay positive came from Aunt Sabina. She talked about only offering prayers of thanks as a way to focus on the good. So that´s what I did all week last week. In all my prayers I didn´t ask for a single thing, I only gave thanks. This really makes you focus on the good and you realize how good it still is even when it seems hard.    -Elder Steele

Monday, October 5, 2015

Imma Put In Work

Email written: 10/5/15

Well as yall probably already figured out, last week was a real downer. I was still bummed all day last P-day. Then on Tuesday morning in studies I read Moroni 9:6

 ´´Y ahora bien, mi querido hijo, pese a su dureza, trabajemos diligentemente; porque si dejamos de obrar, incurriremos en la condenación. Porque tenemos una obra que debemos efectuar mientras estemos en este tabernáculo de barro, a fin de vencer al enemigo de toda rectitud, y dar reposo a nuestras almas en el reino de Dios.´´

or in English:

 And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.

So that was a wake up call to stop feeling bad and keep working. We did divisions on Tuesday and Thursday and both times I stayed in the area. We tried to talk to a ton of people and that started to build the confidence back.Friday we had interviews with President and he gave me a lot of counsel and motivation to keep going. The thing that he said that has stuck with me the most was ´´You can not judge God. You have to trust him. Pray every morning to prepare yourself to do His work in Soldati. If you have 1 seed to plant, then plant that seed. If you have 20 baptisms then go baptize. This is Elder Hatch´s finest hour and you might have to carry him on your shoulders to the end.´´ The interviews ran late and it is a 2 hour trip back to our area so we only had 3 hours to work. Then Elder Hatch said ´´´Alright. We have 3 hours to find people or I am not baptizing the rest of my mission´´ We baptize when someone has 3 church attendances, and we had 3 Sunday´s left. I was reminded of the Boise State/Oklahoma game from years ago, when Boise State was making one final drive to try to win. And I still remember the broadcaster saying ´´This could very well be the last play of his college career´´ and then Boise State pulled some miracles to win. And that´s what we were going to do. We have a few possibilities, but we have to see today.  We have talked to so many people and we are going to work right up until Elder Hatch leaves. I still 
don´t fully understand why I´m in Soldati, or why I´m even in Argentina, but that´s where faith comes in right?

Soldati Zone - Argentina, Buenos Aires North Mission

Other than that, conference was really good. I think partly was because it was the first time I watched all 4 sessions and took notes. It was incredible to see and hear from a prophet and apostles because we tell people all the time we have them as a blessing for us. If you missed any of it, go back at watch/listen.

Thank you for all the emails, support, prayers, and love. 

-Elder Steele

Monday, September 28, 2015

I Don´t Even Know What Happened

Email written: 9/28/15

Well this week not much happened until Saturday. On Saturday we had the baptism for Mara. She was the one who we almost dropped, but we fasted, prayed, and worked hard with her. By Saturday she was ready to be baptized and has so much faith. I was excited that she was going to start a better life and also excited because I was going to be doing the actual baptizing. I was happy the whole day and the baptism went well. It was just a really neat experience. Don´t worry about the picture, she hates pictures so that is why she is like that. At least we got a picture though.

So then Sunday came. We got her to church and were talking to the 1st counselor in the bishopric about the confirmation. Then a brother who has been in the ward forever talked to Elder Hatch and told him something. Elder Hatch then went to talk to the ward mission leader. I couldn´t understand everything they were saying but I felt it wasn´t good. Then the 1st counselor comes back with his phone and shows us Mara´s record. I was thinking ´´wow, they already have her record to go´´ Then they all looked at me and no one really said anything. Then they told me. Mara was already baptized 21 years ago. I was thinking no way this just happened. We then talked to Mara and she said she didn´t remember, even though she was 26 when it said it happened. So we didn´t do the confirmation. I was mad. I wasn´t mad at any one person, but I just felt angry. After all the disappointment these past few transfers. All the prayers and fasting. All the bad days. I finally thought our efforts were worth it. And then to find out it didn´t even matter killed me. It really made me discouraged. I was so excited to send this email on Saturday talking about Mara and showing the picture of me in white and just feeling good, but now nope. And the worst thing is that now for the rest of the 2 years I´m going to be known as ´´the elder who baptized a less active´´ and have already been the butt-end of jokes. I don´t know why I´m here in Soldati and who there is for us to find and it´s been hard. But Elder Hatch keeps telling me that we are going to have our miracles this week and I pray I have enough faith to enact those miracles with him.

But it´s good that we´re starting to reactivate her because in the end she needed to come to church. Speaking of reactivation, this other picture is of the Family Picavia. They were the first ever family we went to visit and I thought they were just normal members. But then a few days ago Elder Hatch told me they have been inactive for years and my first Sunday was their first sunday back to church in a long time. Now they are just so active and awesome and we really love them. 

-Elder Steele

Monday, September 21, 2015

the Good, the Bad, and the Crazy

Email written: 9/21/15

The good- The missionaries have been working since March with Guadalupe. Most of her family got baptized a while ago. For some reason she wasn´t baptized with them. She knows it´s the right thing to do, but wont commit to a date. Elder Hatch and I decided we needed to try one last time to see what´s up with her. We sat down to talk, and like how it has been usually, we get nowhere with her and she keeps saying the same stuff. Elder Hatch tries to get the member to talk and help, and as good of a job he does, still nothing. I just kept thinking, I need to say something but I kept pushing it off. Right before Elder Hatch was going to tell her thank you and goodbye, I started talking. Honestly I don´t know 100% of what I said. I just started saying Spanish without even thinking or translating. I was on such a roll and I felt the Spirit so strong and working through me. At the end I was a little emotional and so was Guadalupe. After a few seconds of calm silence she looks up and asks ´´When am I getting baptized?´´ We put a date for November 8. It´s kind of far, but it gives her time to work out her last few problems and be ready. Elder Hatch really wanted to push her date up, becuase November is a long ways away, so the next day we were going to go back and talk to her again. I was so stressed about what to say because I didn´t want to lose her. We walked in and I had the feeling to tell her about Dad and my life. It wasn´t as poweful as the day before but the Spirit was really there and she is really thinking about having it earlier. I gave my first 15 minute talk in Spanish on Sunday about missionary work. It was fun to prepare. At the end I taught them all ´´Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can´t Lose´´ from Friday Night Lights. 

The bad- First of all, still no gas in our apartment but anyway, for the past 2 weeks we have been running into an old investigator of Elder Hatch more and more. It was to the point of where we knew it was not a coincidence. One day she asked us why we are happy and always say hi to people. We started talking to her more and she told us she had a testimony of Joseph Smith and felt really good about the gospel. We have been working with her this past week prepping her for her baptism next Saturday and everything was going good. She is such an example of faith. But, yesterday right before her interview, she told us she wanted to review the questions again. As soon as she said that I knew we had a problem, and when we sat down I knew exactly the problem she was about to tell us. After a little bit of talking she admitted her problem and my worries were confirmed. It killed me and Elder Hatch. We told her that she wouldn't be able to have the interview so then she got up and left. We both felt like we left it wrong with her and needed to talk to her again. Because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a message of hope and change, and those are the 2 things she needs in her life right now. We went back and bore testimony to her. She didn't make any promises, but she says she is willing to try to change. 

The crazy- On Thursday we had to go to the villa to get a member. We were crossing the street when a lady called out to us. She had a bike, 2 pots full of food, and a broken bag. She asked if we were the boys who were always nice to people. I was thinking, hey we have a miracle because last time someone asked us this, they got a baptismal date. So we talked and it turns out she has some family who are members. We offered help and decided we were going to teach her a short lesson on the way to her house. But she just kept talking about the most random things. She kept telling us just 2 more blocks. just 2 more blocks´´ after 5 blocks, she hopped on her bike and DISAPPEARED! She just rode off leaving us confused carrying pots of food. To make things worse, one of the pots was really full and spilled down the pants of Elder Hatch. We didn't know what to do. We kept walking trying to find her, and eventually we found her. She was at some sort of outside party with a ton of loud music, beer, and weed. We gave her her pots and got out of there. We then laughed for 5 minutes trying to understand what just happened. 

-Elder Steele

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

It's All in Your Head

Email written: 9/14/15

I can´t believe that it´s already been 3 months since I left home. I does not feel like that. The amount of experiences I've already have had are really special. 

So this week was the first week of transfers and it´s really good. We had a lot of ´dead´ missioanries, which means they are on their last transfer and are at least partly already home. That does not bode well for motivation for the zone. But they all left and we got some really great Elders. Elder Cunningham is one of the new zone leaders and he has really helped bring some new life and motivation in the district. All the other elders that came here are really aweseome too, so we really feel September is going to be the month of miracles.

On Wednesday I had an interesting experience and learned that success (or lack of) is all in your head. It seems like everyone in Soldati has been sick the past week, and Elder Hatch and I are no exception. It probably has something to do with the weird weather change. So I had been sick for a few days already when it came to Wednesday. And then it was so so cold and it was raining a ton. I was pretty miserable. I started thinking that all I wanted was some hot chocolate or mate cocido We were waiting for a member and then I started to think, ´´no. What I want more than anything right now is to have a lesson and get some new investigators´´ The member opened the door and gave us hot chocolate. Then we went up to a part member family who was a reference from another member. We had felt really good about them and their kids but they weren´t there. Still sick, cold, tired, and wanting mate cocido we were ready to go back down the 15 flights of stairs. Then I decided to knock on the door across. They were a couple who we contacted Sunday in the stairs and we had set an appointment with them for Monday but they weren´t there. A concern was that Laura said she was watching a movie about Mormons in Afric but couldn´t remember the name. I thought it was either the Book of Mormon musical or Freetown. Still I knocked when Elder Hatch said no. Then Ramon opened the door and at that point we expected to talk to him in the door and Elder Hatch was about to drop them. But they invited us in, gave us mate cocido and we ended up teaching Ramon, Laura, and their daughter Vanesa a really good lesson. Ramon doesn´t want much but Laura and Vanesa really have a desire to learn more. And at the end we found out that the movie Laura watched was Freetown, which made us feel better. So in the end, what we focus our thoughts on is what we eventually end up getting. 

Friday was Ezequiel´s birthday. On Thursday we asked him if he was going to celebrate it,and his mom said they didn´t really have the money to do anything but still told us to come by on Friday. Elder Hatch decided to make a cake for him that night. The problem is, we have not had gas in our apartment for 2 weeks so we can´t cook, but there are other Elders 10 minutes away with an oven. We bought the stuff thursday night and made plans to go early to their apartment Fridaymorning to shower and make the cake. But, Elder Hatch broke the lighter, so we couldn´t use the oven. We had to take everything to the church and use the kitchen there. After forever we figured out the oven and started baking the cake. The box said 1 hour, which we thought was strange so we decided to go back after 30 minutes. After 27 minutes we went back to the kitched to the smell of burning cake. We pulled it out to find the edges and the bottom were pretty crispy, but there was still some good cake. So we cut out the bad, stacked the good, and frosted it. It turned out a lot smaller than we wanted, but it was still good.

-Elder Steele

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

1 Transfer Down

Email written: 9/8/15

Don´t worry, I´m ok. Because it´s transfer week, P day is Tuesday instead of Monday. Last night they called and told the zone who was staying and who was going. They told me I was staying and then didn´t say anything about my companion. Elder Hatch has this as his final transfer and he really wants to stay and finish in Soldati, so when they didn´t say anything at first he got really scared. Then the zone leaders said ´Well Elder Hatch, we are looking on the map and we can´t find this place you are going. You are going to..... stay.´´ Elder Hatch was so happy, and I was glad too because I still need his help getting around the monoblocks and he is a pretty good companion. 

Speaking of transfers, I can´t believe I´m done with one. I have been out on the mission for 3 months now and I don´t know how to feel. With this transfer I learned 3 things: 
1. Missionary work is hard. Different from the MTC experiences. 
2. The Book of Mormon is really aweomse to read from every morning 
3. Argentina has good food, but Peru has the best food probably ever. 

Sunday was Ezequiel´s confirmation. I was sitting in the back with him and then they called for us to come up and announced I would be doing the actual conforming. I was nervous because I didn´t know how to do one and this is pretty important. But I figured it out and I really felt the Spirit as it was happening. 

Other than that there is not much to write about. We are just working everyday hoping to find the people prepared to listen. This transfer for the entire mission has been a little down in numbers, and it is a little discouraging when we think about it, but it gives us motivation and faith that we can improve and turn everything around. We have really tried to talk to more members and get references from them and we have been using ´´Elder Holland´s testimony of the Book of Mormon´´ Mormon message and asking them to share their experiences with the Book of Mormon, and it has been really powerful and we have started to strengthen them as well as get some references.  There are some days where I don´t feel like a missionary and there are others where I feel that this is exactly what missionary work is. There are some days where 2 years seems like forever and other days where 2 years does not feel like I will have enough time to make a difference.   -Elder Steele

Here´s a picture from last P-day.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Missionary Work: It´s E-Z(equiel)

Email written: 8/31/15

We did it! On August 29 (I arrived in Buenos Aires on July 29) we got our first baptism. It was so cool. We taught him all the lessons in a week and he was really ready.

 On Thursday his mom took him out of school just so we could have 3 hours to teach him what we needed to. Elder Hatch really wanted me to do the baptism, but Ezequiel really wanted Elder Hatch to do it. Either way it is evidence of fasting, praying, and hard work. 

Other than that a really uneventful week. I really can´t think of much more to write about this week. It went by so fast and the days have run together. Plus we are really short on time. 

It´s been hard, but somehow I feel I´ve gotten more used to it. I feel that as long as we are obedient and praying all the time, we are going to see more progress. This transfer has been one all about how to have faith and staying positive.   -Elder Steele

Missionary Packages Argentina

Email received: 8/28/15

Your son is great! He has a wonderful companion! Enjoy some pictures of our encounter with him.
Also, we would like to know that if you know anyone that can be part of our mission tours, please share that information with them. 
Pablo Diaz

Thank you, Missionary Packages Argentina, for the special personal delivery service!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Thankfully It´s Not the Tower of Babel

Email written: 8/24/15

Already another P-day. Time here is so weird. It´s an eternity but at the same time it only feels like a day. 

Last P-day we went up the tower that´s near our area. It´s only open on weekends and special days, and Monday was one of those days. It´s pretty tall and supposedly you can see as far as the coast, but it was kind of cloudy so we couldn't see that far. We still got some cool views. 

This week seems to be the week that it starts to turn around. First of all the weather all week was really really nice. It was a nice change from the rain. 

 I gave my 1st blessing in Spanish. I was nervous because 1. I have only given one other blessing and 2. This was going to be in Spanish. But in the end I did it and he thanked me for it and he did get better so I felt good. 

We also did divisions this week. I was scared because I don´t know the area very well (The monoblocks are very confusing so give me a break) and the Elder I was going to be with is not very well like and has had problems with everyone his whole mission (He goes home in 2 weeks). But I decided I was going to make the best. We didn't talk much, mainly because my Spanish is not at full length fun conversation yet. But we stopped by Hermano Montaño to drop off our jackets and some other stuff and then Elder Sorrano decided to talk to the lady who was about to buy stuff from the stand. Turns out that she has a lot of member friends and has heard a little bit about the church and she asked us why the missionaries never have been to her house. So we have a cita with her today so we´ll see where that goes. Then later when we were looking for a reference we went down a floor and knocked on a door. It was an older woman. She told us that she knows who we are and what we represent. Then she told us what a coincidence it is that just a few minutes after she found out her brother died, we knocked on her door (I don't think it was a coincidence). We started to introduce the Plan of Salvation but she was a little emotional and distracted. She is so ready to hear the gospel, we just have to get in to her house and she kept telling us that we can come back at a better time. By the end of the day it turned out to be pretty good, and I only got turned around once. And Elder Sorrano and I got along really well and he didn't have any attitude problems or anything. 

On Saturday we set up a stand in the Fair. We had so many cards, pamphlets, and copies of the Book of Mormon to give out. In those 3 hours we talked to over 300 people and gave nearly everything we had. We only got about 40 addresses, but that´s still a ton of potential. For me, what I learned was just to smile and start talking to people because you have to talk to everyone, you can´t look at someone and judge if they are going to listen to you or not. It was a really good event.

Later on Saturday we visited a less active/part member family. Most of the family got baptized last year except for one of the kids Ezekiel. But when we talked to him on Saturday, he asked us if he could be baptized. We taught him a little bit and he´s going to get baptized next Sunday and we are really trying to get his older brother to do the baptism. But then on Sunday morning Ezekiel didn't want to go because he had a toothache. We kept trying to tell him the blessings of Church and then we told him we´d give him an hour to get ready. 30 minutes later we went back with a member and guess who opened the door all dressed and ready to go... Ezekiel! Then we got to spend first hour in Primary singing and it was so fun. By the end of sacrament meeting he said he really liked church and his tooth felt better, so he´s ready to be baptized next week. 

Finally the coolest thing happened as a result of the fair. Yesterday we decided to visit the one monoblock reference we got from the fair (the other 6 elders work in the Villas and houses around the blocks and the fair was in the Villa). We couldn't find it at first and we almost gave up but then we talked to someone and he showed us where it was. This lady opened the door and we asked her what she liked about the fair and she said when she talked to the Elders she felt peace and happiness. When we heard that, it was so awesome because that means she has been prepared and the fair was worth it. We taught her the restoration and then she accepted the invitation to be baptized on September 13. She kept telling us what she was feeling during the lesson and it was the Holy Ghost testifying. It was just such an awesomely wonderful lesson and I really think she can progress and be baptized.    -Elder Steele