Sunday, February 22, 2009


Dear Family,

We had a great baptism this Saturday! Here are a few photos.

The first isn´t of the baptism, it is of a family from my last area. This is familia Vera. The father is a Police Officer and Works a lot. He also gave me a really cool tie clip that I think is from his dress uniform. The mother is a return missionary who complained to us that we never pass by. When we did, we found out that their son wasn´t baptized. So we baptized him. And we worked with this family a lot over the few months I was there with E´Spendlove. I was usually pretty quiet, but they said that I was very spiritual.

This is the family of Ciris, Luís, and Juan. The mother and the other son (Ciris also, who didn´t come to the baptism and we don´t quite understand why) are already members. The baptism went extremely well.

I believe this one is of the three who were baptized, along with my companion E´Gonzalez and E´Gilmore. He received permission from the president to come to this baptism because he worked so much with them. I didn´t really have much to do with it.

This is a poster that my companion made for an investigador named Roxanna. She stopped smoking recently and he made it to remind her that she is committed to not smoking again. This poster is really, really nice and is hanging next to the TV in the main room of the house. All her visiters comment about it and I think one of her friends is now trying to stop smoking because of her great example. Roxanna will be baptized this Saturday, along with Maxi and Lola.
I have a few more pictures I want to sent, I´ll get to work on them now.


Ok, I´m back.

You know the pizza I was telling you about that we ate every Sunday? Well, here they are. They´re pretty good, but I do miss Papa John´s Supreme pizza. A lot of times these pizzas included either green olives (to which I´ve accustomed myself and can eat without problems. I´m not sure if I can touch black olives yet) or anchovies (which really aren´t bad. They aren´t my preffered, but it was nice to have a little variety in the pizza).

Here is the maker of all of the pizza, Hma. Valle. She is also the mother or grandmother of about half the ward. I wish I could´ve gotten a photo of all of them together, but suprisingly, there weren´t very many there that last day, so I didn´t get one. Some of her daugters include Hma. Vera (we baptized her son), Hma. deBernardi (the Relief Society President who loved to have hilarious word fights with my companions), and Hma. Aza (who would absolutely stuff us every time we had lunch with her. A returned missionary as well).

This is a photo of a family we helped reactivate. One of the sons, Matías, wasn´t there (the one that is a little bit more rebelious), but here is the father, Hmo. Urquirza, Lucas the son, and I can´t remember the daughter´s name. The father was usually a little frustrated with his sons, but they were a great family. It is a bit sad that their mom left them. I really hope that Lucas and Matías will be ready and able to serve missions in a few years.

And last of all, this is a Picture of part of the Pereira family. They are the ones that we made the floor for and are working hard to get ready to be sealed in the temple. I believe I´ve sent pictures home of the rest of the family in the baptism of Hernán.

Ok, there´s all the pictures. I don´t have much time to write now, but I´ll put a bit. We are doing really, really well in this area. It is amazing how prepared a lot of these people are. Right now, we have a baptism planned for every Saturday of this transfer (6 weeks). This week is Roxanna, Maxi, and Lola. The following week, the twin girls of Roxanna. The week after Osorio, the neighbor of Maxi, who needs to quite drinking wine (he´s following a plan I made to help him!), and the week after is a couple that came to the baptism Saturday without us knowing it that the family with whom we ate lunch on Sunday notified us. I´ll talk more about them next week I believe.

I´m really loving it here. Part of me didn´t want to take P-day and just go out and work. I´m glad all is going well with you.

Elder Drake Ranquist

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Replacing Elder Gilmore!

3 Feb 2009

Dear Family,

I´m not sure if I´ll have time to read the letters that you sent because I went through that big change that I warned you about and I want to make sure I can write all that I want. And I got two copies of the letter you sent last week Dad, but the letter for this week is a bit of a mess. It is like it took the begginning, put it at the end, cut out a bit of the middle. No sé que pasó. I don´t know what happened. Ok, I fixed it. There are problems with the internet site, no más.

I am now in my second area on my mission. I have left my birthplace, Villa Amelia, and am now in Rafael Castillo 1, which might sound vaguely familiar to you. I am the replacement of Sean Gilmore. He has been here for six months. He left for another zone, I don´t remember which, but I find it amazing that I followed him here. So, if you have been keeping up with his blog, you know a lot more than me about this area and my companion Elder Gonzalez of Chile. I guess if there are people reading both his and mine, I will continue the story of this area.

First to talk about Villa Amelia. There really isn´t that much to say actually. We had some problems with Natividad. She is accusing one of the church leaders of doing something he shouldn´t and we aren´t sure who to believe. At first we thought she had a misunderstanding, but after talking around a little Sunday, her story lines up a little better. Now we´re not sure what happened. I´m kind of glad that I don´t have to deal with all the problems that have happened and are going on in the ward of Villa Amelia. I understand better why they had to make such an odd boundary change in order to pull in a bishop from another ward. I hope that all goes well.

Since E´Spendlove and I knew that one of us were going, we made several visits to the people we wanted to say goodbye to Sunday and yesterday. I took pictures with several of the families, so I will try to send them next week. Although, many of the pictures are missing people because noone wanted to be home for me to say goodbye to. It was like a curse. Griselda is in the hospital. Hmo. Salvador wasn´t home. Most of the Pereira family were at the pool. And the store where Carolina Sosa works was closed. We did a lesson with an elderly couple that have a lot of interest in the church. E´Peterson and I found them during divisions and she knew the church in Santa Fe, Argentina. She is a widow living together with another elderly man, who also has a lot of interest. There is the obstacle that they need to get married, and if they do, she loses her pension from the government. So it will be a sacrifice, but if there is one thing that I´ve learned in my life here on Earth is that if we sacrifice for the Lord, He blesses us abundantly. So, I hope all goes well with them with E´Spendlove and his new companion. I forget his name, but he is from Chile and entered at the same time as I did.

I will try to explain what little I know about Castillo 1. First, it is in the stake of Catán, but in the part that is really close to Castelar, the stake I came from. Catán is known as the “heart” of the mission, because it is in the center, I believe. If I take the train that is here in Castillo, the next stop is Merlo Gomez, which is one of the limits of Villa Amelia. The next station is really close to the chapel of Villa Amelia. So, I´m not too far away. In comparison with Villa Amelia, this area is really small. It is about a third of the size. We only have to use colectivos, being translated buses, for district meetings and zone conferences. So, I don´t have to spend $150 or more pesos in travel every month. That will be a blessing. Another blessing is that there is a laundromat here! I don´t have to spend all of my free time hand washing my laundery! We live in a pensión that is really close to the train station, less than a block. There are four of us, which is good because I think my companions will always need someone else to talk with during the nights because of how little I talk. It isn´t the greatest, but it is better than my first pensión. Luckily, we have Air Conditioning for the central room where we all sleep. Of the other elders, one is from Paraguay and the other from Utah. The other north american just came back from campo and so is new to the area as well.

From what I hear, the missionary work is going really well in this area. My companion and E´Gilmore gave a brief message during the Transfer Meeting about how they used oragami to interest some of the kids and help get their parents to start investigating. They had 9 investigators in sacrament meeting. 9! That is amazing. I feel blessed if there is one! So, we are going to be working really hard to help all those coming to church receive a lasting conversion.

E´Gonzalez seems like an excellent Elder to me. I think that we´ll get along well and that we´ll do great work together. Today, while making purchases and walking around, he has been doing contacts with people, which most elders don´t do on P-days. I need to really improve on making contacts. Every missionary should do 10 every day and it is really hard for me. But I think I´ll overcome that barrier. I don´t know too much about my companion yet, but he is really nice. It sounds like he really got along with E´Gilmore (who predicted that I would come here by the way). But, I´m almost the complete opposite of E´Gilmore, so we´ll see. I doubt we´ll have problems, I just hope that we can form a friendship, which I didn´t have with my past too companions.

I will let you know more as I live through and learn more. I printed out your letters and will read them when I get back to the pensión. I hope all is going well and that the your work with Aaron is going well too. I´m grateful for this opportunity to grow more and serve my Lord. I hope that His Spirit will always be with you to guide and comfort.

Elder Drake Ranquist

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ice Storm in KY! Divisions in Argentina?

A few inches of snow and ice might not seem like a big deal to those of you out west, but here in Kentucky, it's a rareity! On Monday and Tuesday, a big storm passed through, and we recieved layer upon layer of ice and snow. The snow isn't the problem, we've dealt with that before. It's the ice! Ice is just covering everything, including the power lines. Luckily, my family never lost power, but so far we've housed 6 different people who did! (most of which happened to be my friends, so I had a great time) School was cancelled last week and is tomorrow, because most of the schools lost power and haven't gotten it back yet. This is the second full week that school has been cancelled this year due to power outages. First there was the hurricane in the fall, now this storm. My friends are all saying that in the Spring we're going to have a big tornado that knocks out all of the power and puts us out of school for the week. I hope that doesn't happen, though I have to admit, it has been really nice getting a break!

Here are some pictures of what has happened to our world...remember that what you see is not just snow...but layers of ice as well!

Ok, now to Drake. We can't believe how he's almost a fourth done with his mission! This year has been going so fast! Well, unless you ask my mom. To her, this year is not going fast enough when she thinks of it in terms of Drake's mission, but it has been going way to quickly when I remind her that I'm about to graduate! Funny how that works.

27 Jan 2009

Querida Familia,

This week and this coming week are going to be full of divisions. I´m hardly ever going to be with my companion. He is the leader of the district and has to do a division with each member of our district. So, we did two last week and two this week. Also, he has to do the baptismal interviews and doesn´t want to lose the working time in our area, so we did another division this past week and we are probably going to do a few more this week. It is a little overwhelming having to guide this area since I don´t understand Castellano as well as he does and basically do anything else as well. But, I continue pushing through and I know that every little effort that I put in helps further the work of the Lord.

Yesterday I received another package from the Sweat family. I want to thank them. It may take some time before I can write the thank you letters because of all of the letters I need to respond to from last week. But thank you for the candy and letters. I especially liked the cashews. I´ve been missing eating nuts a bit. They really are quite expensive here, so they are really appreciated. Also, thank you Jessica for the address, that is what I needed.

Dad, I think you might want to try resending your e-mail, this is what I received,
“Dear Son,
This week will be your 6 month anniversary on your mission. I know you have
thought about it and how fast it has gone. We have missed you greatly, but
have also had much joy in your letters and the growth that has occurred. We
are very excited about the growth yet to come. While it is sad to look at
your picture on the mantel ever”

Yes, it is hard to believe that I´ve almost past through a quarter of my mission. The time really does seem to fly. It is interesting to view the changes that occurs little by little in this area and in myself. I still have a long ways to go though. Another year and a half. Yet I know that it will fly by without me knowing it. I´m beginning to understand better the eternity of time and the lack thereof. But yet the necessity to spend what little time we have in a meaningful manner. That there is no time to wait.

Next Monday is when the next transfer begins. I don´t know exactly what will happen. I had been thinking that I would be sent to another area, but right now it is a bit more in the air. This Wednesday, we went to the hospital in capital for the third time to pick up the results of my companion´s MRI. He has a few problems still and was told that he really shouldn´t be walking so much. It is making things worse. He only has 4 months in the mission left, so it could be possible that he will “die” working in the offices (we say die to mean end the mission and leave. I was born here in Villa Amelia.) If that happens, I will spend another transfer here helping another Elder get used to the area. If that doesn´t happen, Elder Spendlove will stay here as district leader and I will leave for another area. We just don´t know what the President and his wife will feel needs to be done.

Oh, I´ve been meaning to tell you something kind of funny. You know how Dad always talked about how his mission president put Elders with similar names together, like E´White with E´Black, or E´Adams with E´Eve? Well, in my zone there is an Elder Flores with and Elder Rosas! I guess my mission president has the same sense of humor.

I´m now trying to send you the photos of the baptism. The first is Hernan with his Aunt, Uncle, and younger cousins. The other is of him with us and his Uncle who baptized him.

This coming week, we are going to try to organize a rescate or a rescue of the priesthood in the ward. Next Sunday we are going to gather as many active priesthood holders as we can to go out and visit as many of the inactive priesthood holders as possible and give the message “Venga lo que Venga, Disfrútalo” I think is Come what may, Enjoy it. The attendance of women in the ward is good, but of men it is a bit depressing. Without priesthood, the church doesn´t work. With little, it doesn´t function well. So, we are trying to focus on bringing more priesthood holders into this ward so that there is a base that our investigators can find support. And over these past two transfers, we have been seeing the fruits of our labors, little by little. One family, a Dad with two sons who are of the age to prepare for missions have been returning and making improvements in the family. He is still frustrated that his sons don´t work and clean in the house like he wants them to. I think that might sound familiar to anyone who went through their teenage years. We have also seen another priesthood holder return. He is a bit disanimated because his wife has gone inactive and works constantly and his children don´t want to go to church with him. Although it is hard, he is beginning to come alone. My main worry is with Juan, the kid that I baptized my first transfer. He hasn´t been coming to church for a long while and when he did, only to sacrament meeting, so he has never yet received the Aaronic Priesthood. His family visits family members a lot on Sundays, so he has a hard time coming, but I hope he can to receive the support he needs.

I know that by small and simple means the Lord works His miracles. We have to be patient with Him and His children a lot, but if they take the steps of prayer and reading I know they can receive the witness that this work is indeed true. That this has the fullness of the Gospel to bring our hearts to great joy and consolation. And the only way to return to live in the presence of our Heavenly Father.

Elder Ranquist