Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Buen día, familia,
My first week in Mar Del Plata turned out to be pretty crazy (like every other week of my missionary life). The first thing I heard about Puerto is that it smells like fish really bad. And then I heard that it´s a really awesome ward and has a bunch of active members! It´s like a dream! So all week I was really excited to go to church and see just how many members there were. It´s a really big, beautiful church and it´s only two blocks away from where we live! We also live pretty close to the beach and we can see the Atlantic Ocean from our window. The Atlantic Ocean is a new experience for me. I feel like I´ve always been involved with the Pacific Ocean, but the Atlantic is nice too. And when we finally made it to Sunday again, I wasn´t disappointed! The church was just FULL of active members and people wanting to meet me and try to pronounce my name and wondering if I play the piano (thank goodness that I do or I don´t think they would let me stay!). There were like 70 of them and all the members said that there were a bunch of people out of town because of the long weekend (because there was another holiday for no reason... oh Argentina. :) We went to lunch with the Bishop after church and he started telling us that we have a Ward Mission Leader and Ward Missionaries. WHAT?! No way! And we have a Sunday School President WITH COUNSELORS!! I couldn´t believe it. I haven´t seen that since I left the United States. I honestly had to use my hand to close my mouth because I was so surprised. So basically I love it here.
Also, my new companion in Hna. Christa Collette. She was actually in my same major, Elementary Education, at BYU before I left (at the same time and everything) but we didn´t ever meet each other. We had to come to Argentina to meet. She´s been here four and a half months already, but she loves the area and the ward. She´s really funny and we laugh a lot together. I wrote down something funny that she said every day this week. The best part is that she doesn´t even know it´s going to be funny and then when I start laughing really hard, she still looks oblivious and it makes me laugh even harder. Some of my favorites are: "ROSA!" that she yelled really happily when she saw a lady who actually turned out to be named Ana, "sí, the Catholic church kills the faith a little" to a Catholic lady in the street, and this little encounter with a random old man after picking an avocado off a tree in the street and not knowing what it was (it has a weird shape here)...
Excuse me, sir, what is this?
Oh, thank you.
Oh, um... also, we´re missionaries...
And he walked away as fast as he could, leaving us to laugh really hard. So it´s been a pretty good time. And I´m looking forward to being able to find lots of new investigators. Our area is HUGE!!! It´s like eight times bigger than any of my other areas and I kinda feel the pressure of so many people to visit and teach and baptize. It´s hard to find time for everyone. Luckily, hardly any of them want to find time for us so it makes it a lot easier. Also, a lot harder because we have to find people to baptize. But we are really excited for General Conference and are going to try to get a bunch of investigators to go. Who doesn´t want to go and listen to the prophet? Well, I hope you are all doing wonderfully. Good luck with all that you´re doing and pray for us. :) Thanks for the support.
P.S. These are some pictures that we took this week.
1. The sign outside of our apartment so you´ll know who lives where. It still says "Elderes." Someone forgot to change it.
2. Me with a Puerto sign.
3. The only thing that there are more of than people in my area... fish. More specifically, dead fish. Mmm.. que rico.
4. Me in the puerto with the boats.
5. Me and Hna. Collette on the beach
6. Hna. Collette and I being weird
7. Me inviting Mar Del Plata to repent. We erased it before we left though so they probably won´t do it. We´ll have to keep inviting them individually.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Mar del Plata is an Argentine city located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, 400 km (249 mi) south of Buenos Aires. Mar del Plata is the second largest city of Buenos Aires Province. The name "Mar del Plata" had apparently the sense of "sea of the Río de la Plata region" or "adjoining sea to the Río de la Plata". Mar del Plata is one of the major fishing ports and the biggest seaside beach resort in Argentina. With a population of 614,350 as per the 2010 census [INDEC], it is the 7th largest city in Argentina.
As part of the Argentine recreational coast, tourism is Mar del Plata's main economic activity with seven million tourists visiting the city in 2006. Mar del Plata has a sophisticated tourist infrastructure with countless hotels, restaurants, casinos, theatres and other tourist attractions. Mar del Plata is also an important sports centre with a multi-purpose Olympic style stadium (first used for the 1978 World Cup and later upgraded for the 1995 Pan American Games), 5 golf courses and many other facilities.
The area is also host to other light industry, such as textile, food manufacturing and polymers. There is a well-developed packaging machines industry, its quality being recognized in international markets. One of these companies was one of the pioneers in the automatic packaging of tea bags, exporting its original machine-designs abroad. Another company also exports its products and sold royalties to other countries.
During the mid 1980s, Mar del Plata saw the birth of electronics factories, focused mostly on the telecommunications field, with two of them succeeding in the international market.
Located southwest of the city there are quartzite quarries. The stone is traditionally used in construction (see Architecture). There is a huge area of farms in the rural areas surrounding the city, specialized mostly in the cultivation of vegetables.
Although the area had suffered from a high rate of unemployment from 1995 to 2003, Mar del Plata has seen 46,000 new jobs created from the third quarter of 2003 to the third quarter of 2008, representing an increase of 22%. The 2008 Davis Cup Final was held in Mar del Plata and, after being shut for a decade the Gran Hotel Provincial (one of the largest hotels in Argentina) was reopened by the Madrid-based NH Hotels, in 2009.
La Feliz (The Happy One), Mardel, La Perla del Atlántico (The Pearl of the Atlantic)
|Founded||February 10, 1874|
|- Intendant||Gustavo Pulti|
|- Total||79.48 km2 (30.7 sq mi)|
|Elevation||38 m (125 ft)|
|- Density||6,816/km2 (17,653.4/sq mi)|
|Phone code||+54 223|
Monday, March 14, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
I found the title of my email on the back of a bus this week and totally loved it. I said it all week whenever we were feeling kinda down and Hna. just cracked up every time. It´s so profound. "Smile, you´re Argentine and you live in Tandil. What else do you want?" They have a point. It comes out a little stronger in vos though. Well, this week was not as awesome or full of miracles as other weeks, but at least none of our investigators died. :)
We had Daniela who came to church last week and we had an appointment to go by on Tuesday. We went over to her house and saw her outside, but when we got closer, she went inside and her daughter came out and told us she wasn´t there. We went by like four days in a row and she was always "busy." We´re pretty sure she´s living with her boyfriend again and doesn´t want to tell us. Maybe we didn´t hide very well how happy we were when they broke up... oops. So we´re going to let her think about her life for a while and pass by her house again when she´s ready to not hide from us. It happens, but it did make us mad that she kept making her daughter lie for her.
We also met Jorgelina this week, who has 8 kids. 8!! And she´s married. She said that she liked us when we knocked on her door so she invited us over. She smokes a lot so we´re going to help her stop. She accepted the baptismal date and said she would go to church, but didn´t answer the door when we went to pick her up. It´s really weird because all of our investigators right now are really active in their own churches so they´re already used to going to church. We just have to convince them to go to our church and get baptized instead of their own church. But Victor and Cristina in La Falda did it so these people can too.
We did have one miracle - Valeria. She´s the girlfriend of the less active son of our ward mission leader. She wants to change her life so we´ve been teaching her. She was going to get baptized the 12th of March, but then she decided that she wanted to get married first so she could really keep the Law of Chastity. So now they´re getting married on the 23rd of March and she can get baptized right after. Yay!! And she just quit her job so that she can go to church every Sunday. So this Sunday was her first day. Now we just have to reactivate her boyfriend. But she is super cool and brave for making all these changes and for following the answers that Heavenly Father is giving her.
Oh and tomorrow is International Woman Day so I hope all the women that read this have a very happy day. Apparently, it´s a big deal here so we´re going to tell the elders to do something for us. YAY! I hope you are all doing very well. Hna. Araya and I are having a lovely time here in Villa Aguirre and loving our cute little rama. Our miracle family continues to amaze us. Braian received the this Sunday. I wanted to cry. He´s going to pass the sacrament next week. I love being a missionary and we´re trying to do the best we can. I love you all and am so grateful for your love and support. I received a lot of it this week in form of a lot of letters and a package from Kylie and friends (and there are letters coming your way!). Thanks for your prayers! Sonreí.