Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Our First Few Weeks In Argentina

After a very long flight we arrived in Buenos Aires.  We were going to stay for one night and then go to the Mission Home in Neuquen and meet President and Sister Peterson.  We were so excited for them to be able to show us around for a few hours and give us last minute council.  We got to the airport to go to Neuquen and our flight was canceled because of weather conditions.  Because their flight was already planned President and Sister Peterson flew to Buenos Aires and met with us there.

President and Sister Peterson have been so wonderful to meet with us via skype over the last few months that we had already learned much from them.  We can tell that they are loved in the mission and that they have put their heart and soul into serving the missionaries and the people in the Argentina Neuquen Mission.  It was clear to see that  they were really going to miss the missionaries and the people in Argentina but I think President Peterson was a little excited to hand over the cell phone to President Lovell!

President and Sister Peterson with President and Sister Lovell

After a very late flight to Neuquén we were greeted by the wonderful mission assistants. They were amazing and taught us all about the mission. I cannot say enough about how much we love and appreciate what they did to teach and train us! President and Sister Peterson had prepared them well! The symbol on the paper is the symbol for baptisms in the mission!

We were only in Argentina for a few days before we started a tour of the mission.  This is no small task because the mission is very large.  We were so impressed at the beautiful meeting houses that are in the mission.

This is where the branch in Catriel meets.  It was a beautiful large home that the church now rents for the branch.

It works amazingly well.  

We attended an activity that the missionaries planned for their ward about the importance of the support of new members and investigators. 

There were some very cute children that took me under their wing.  They could tell I needed some help.  They helped me know what the numbers were for the songs and were doing their best to help me with my Spanish!

We meet wonderful people where ever we go.

This is what the scenery looks like as we travel through most of the mission.

But there is variety because we cover such a large area.  There is a map of the mission on this blog that shows that we go from the ocean on the east to the Andes Mountains on the West.  We don't go to the very most tip of Argentina but we do go very far south! 

These are some rocks along the road as we were crossing from one side of Argentina to the other side.

We were very happy to see mountains!

They reminded us of Home!

Bariloche is on the west side of the mission and is amazingly beautiful with it's mountains and lakes.

It is amazing to see the variety in the scenery in the mission.

We were traveling to Puerto Madryn to visit the Hermana's Pension there when we were stopped by flaming tires across the road.

President Lovell and Elder Querolo got out to assess the situation.  There were told that there were hungry people and these people wanted to do something to let people know about it.  There was one nice lady that told them a way to go around the flames so that we could go on our way.

Here we are on the road going around the flames.  Elder Querolo is checking the map! 

Hmm...there isn't much traffic here!

The horses were surprised to see us but we were very happy to continue on our way to see the Hermanas!

We have a GPS that the Elders have named, Gabriella.  She is our friend as we are finding our way around the mission.  We wanted to find the shortest way to go see the missionaries in Zapala and this is where she took us.  It was shorter but certainly took us longer.   Maybe not a way we will ever go again!

However we did see beautiful scenery.

The mission has large cities such as Bariloche.  This is a place where people love to come from all over the world because of the beautiful mountains and lakes.

They even have a store similar to "Claire's" that we have in Utah that sells jewelry and accessories for women.

Most everything is modern but once in a while we see a family in their wagon  with their horse.

When we were eating in a restaurant there was this lovely wall hanging to the side of us.  Upon inquiry we found out that it is a Javelina.  They live in Argentina too!

Sometime when we are traveling we are stopped to see if we have all of the correct paperwork.  They are usually nice and just let us go on our way.  We usually give them a pass along card.

We have met many wonderful people.  This is President and Sister Castro.  President Castro is the President of the Caleta Olivia District.  They have only been members since 2005.  He has been the District President since 2008.  Since the District falls under the stewardship of the Mission we get to see them on a regular basis.

This is President Tapia.  He is the 1st counselor in the Mission Presidency.  He has been a Stake President in Bariloche and is a great strength to the mission.

This is President Ganga and his family.  He is the Branch President in Trevelin.  We enjoyed a wonderful dinner with them.

We were invited to have dinner with Monica and Camila. What a wonderful time we had. Monica grew up in the mountains in Chile. Her mother told her there was another book that testifies of Jesus Christ but that they would never see it. When Monica read the Book of Mormon she knew that this was that book and was soon baptized.

Monica is a wonderful cook and she and Camila made us feel so welcome

I will end this post with pictures of a few of the missionaries.  They are the most wonderful part of the mission.  This Elder Tau, Elder Rosell, Elder Querolo and Elder Page. They are all fabulous missionaries.  Elder Tau and Elder Rosell are the Zone Leaders in the Caleta Olivia Zone.   Elder Page and Elder Querolo are the Assistants to the President and have helped us know where to be and when to be there. They are very wise and experienced.  They have been a great blessing to us.

Here we are with Elder Roldan. We love to get to know the missionaries individually...


and as a group, but we love the missionaries!

Highlights of July

Having Elder and Hermana Ehmke join us in the mission has been a great blessing. They are talented, hardworking and very fun! Hermana Ehmke is a nurse and the Mission Historidor. Elder Ehmke is the Gerente for the mission. Some of what he does is manage the pensions and the supplies of the mission. They are so much fun that I think the missionaries just like to have some reason to call the office just to be able to talk to them!

Along with transfers this time, two of our wonderful office Elders went back out into "the field".  This is our wonderful office staff before the transfers.  Thanks for a job well done!

We were privileged to have Elder Zeballos and his wife on our Mission Tour this year. We have a very large mission which was a blessing to us because we were able to ride in the car together with Elder and Sister Zeballos for several days to see all of the zones. They were so kind to let us ask questions and they were willing to teach us as we traveled. We had a wonderful meeting with each of the zones. Elder Zeballos requested that the Assistants or Zone leaders give a “State of the Mission” report. Then it was my turn. I used the story "The Spyglass" by Richard Paul Evans as the basis for my talk. Our daughter Kathryn, in Utah, scanned in the pictures from the book so we could show them to everyone on the projection screen. Elder Page translated the story to Spanish. I love the book. It talks about how with faith and vision we can create what we really want. Richard Paul Evans was kind enough to give us permission to share his story this way.

After that, President Lovell spoke, followed by Sister Zeballos then Elder Zeballos. It was a wonderful meeting with each of the zones.

Bariloche Zone with Elder and Sister Zeballos

Caleta Olivia Zone with Elder and Sister Zeballos

Comodoro Zone with Elder and Sister Zeballos

Neuquén Oeste, Roca, Zapala and Neuquén Zones with Elder and Sister Zeballos

Trelew Norte Zone with Elder and Sister Zeballos

Trelew Sur Zone with Elder and Sister Zeballos

Once a month our wonderful Zone Leaders have Zone Leader Council at the nearby church but they come to the Mission Home for lunch.

What a wonderful group of missionaries!

We love it when those that play the piano share their talents.  They are only here for lunch for an hour but it is one of our favorite times in the Mission Home.