Sunday, February 28, 2010

Drake's Mission Pictures

So a lot of these are really old and I don't know who all of them are of, but here are some pictures from Drake's mission! Hopefully from now on I'll be able to put up his pictures.


Escritura y San Justo

Dear Family,

To start off, I´ll answer the questions about the plaque. I actually thought that you did that a long time ago and that it has been hanging up during my mission. I don´t have my scriptures with me at the moment but I´ll try to remember the scripture reference. I think it is D&C 6:10-11, but I´m not sure about the verses. It says, “Tienes un don y bendito eres a causa de tu don. Recuerdas que viene de arriba...” Um, in english it says something about having a gift, that it comes from above, and you´ll use that gift to learn mysteries to the convincing of many of the errors of their ways. It was written to Oliver Cowdery. Those verses impacted me very strongly when I read them for the first time a few days after I received my testimony of Christ when I was 17. And Mom, I assure you that for me, the time has flown by much more rapidly than I could have ever imagined.

I´m glad that you are enjoying the winter Olympics so much. I love the winter Olympics, but I guess that I´ll have to wait 4 more years. I haven´t heard anything at all about the Olympics here.

This past week has been an ubrupt change from what I´m used to. Being closer to the city center, everyone here is a bit more established, making it a lot harder to proselyte. It is very different trying to preach to people who have lived in the same house 40 years, has a steady work in the which they are never home with time, and are never sitting in their front porch, than to do so with people that are still building their house, having moved there within a few years coming from another country, are always home because they can´t find a steady work, and are younger and more open to new ideas. But, I´ll say that the ward is a lot stronger.

Recently, the boundaries were changed to make the San Justo branch into the San Justo Ward. The bishop is really good, but I don´t think we´ll have quite the same relation as we did with the bishop of Jardines. This Sunday, Santiago Romero, a returned missionary that recently got married was called as the new ward mission leader. The old one was always working and didn´t always go to church. So, I have good hopes.

This past week, we mainly focused in several “eternal investigators” in trying to help them get to church, but even though we went to go look for them, they didn´t come. We are also teaching the 21 yr. old daughter of a member and she came for sacrament meeting. So, she helped renew our hopes. This week, we´ll try to expand the teaching pool. This week it also poured and poured. On Friday, the streets turned into rivers up to our shins. But we had fun plowing through them anyways.

It has been a lot harder to get to know the members here because we receive a vianda (carry-out?) every day from the members because their husbands always work during the day, which is good, but more difficult for us. I guess I´ll be learning how the mission is in the majority of the world here in San Justo. I´ve always heard that it is harder here in the zone of Oeste, but I also know that outcome isn´t caused by circumstance. We can have a lot of success here with the help of the Lord and adapting to the circumstances.

I know that these things are true and will go forth among the whole world. I know that God protects us and will always guide us. He is at the head of this work and will always be.

With Love,
Elder Drake Ranquist

I figured out how to get pictures back up!!! I got a new laptop in the summer and had never been able to do it. I would save his pictures, but then I couldn't find the file. Here you go! I'll try to upload some of the older pictures too...

Nieves, who got sick and stopped smoking. I hope to hear good news about her in the future.

Me teaching a little bit.

The piano class that I was teaching. Several of them are recent converts, family, and friends. Next to me is Jonathan Dominguez, our ward mission leader.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Estoy en San Justo

Dear Family,

I welcome you to the ward of San Justo! I am now in the zone of Oeste as a district leader. We are fairly close to the mission offices, which will be a complete change for me. This means that we are closer to the capital and the area isn´t as poor. It will be a complete change for me and I´ll have to get used to it. But, as always, I know that the Lord will support me in this change.

I am now with Elder Jimenez, another Chilean! I feel that this is a sign that I might be living in Chile one day to work in the observatories there. He is also from Maipú, close to where E´Rivas lives. They never knew one another, but they know of the same friends. He wants to study medical engineering and I believe that he will be a great companion. He is in his third transfer and guess who trained him. E´Chamberlain, one of my roommates in the MTC. He, along with E´Bunn, were recently called to be zone leaders. In order to avoid saying that we´re old in the mission I´ll say, Wow, we are gaining a lot of experience!

This is a recently made ward. It was a branch before, but about two weeks ago, they changed the limits to make it a ward. And a new bishop was called. Does that ring a bell? I hope I´ll be able to have the same kind of relationship with the new bishop that I had with my past two bishops. I´ll miss Obispo Fleytas. This past week he jokingly asked us if we could be his counselors and when he announced that I was leaving the ward on Sunday, he just about cried. Will I ever become so attached to a missionary after my mission?

On Sunday we had the baptism of Lucas Guzmán. He is the neighbor of some members who had been helping us, the Mendoza family. Sister Mendoza is a returned missionary and also directs the music in the ward. We found Lucas´s stepfather in the streets one day and did a contact with him. We asked if we could pass one day and he told us that he wouldn´t be there, but that his wife would accept us. We went and invited them to church. She has a new born baby, so she couldn´t come to church the first two times, but she wanted Lucas to go and be baptized because she sees in the Mendoza family that it is a good environment. Lucas was also really excited. It wasn´t the best planned baptism because we didn´t have any more minutes on our cell phone and he was scared of the water a bit because of a problem with his ears in the past, but it went well anyways. We were all very happy. In Moreno 3, Ari, the catholic priest, was also baptized and we got to eat lunch with him because he lives in one of the member´s house in Jardines. One day, he´ll have to start going to that ward. The USB isn´t working now, so I´ll send pictures next week. And now that I don´t have worries about the memory in my account, you are all free to send as many pictures as you want too.

I hope everything keeps going well at home. I love you and pray for the best. I hope I can become the son and brother that God wants me to be, but I realize that it will probably take me my entire life to do so. I love this work, even though it is difficult and requires me to stretch myself beyond what I believe are my limits. But, nothing is impossible. I know that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Savior and the Redeemer of the world. All that come unto Him will find rest of their labors as faith, hope, and charity enter their lives. He will always strengthen us in the manner that we need.
Elder Drake Ranquist

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Una Semana Mas antes del cambio

Dear Family,

This past week went fairly well. I can´t remember what happened exactly at the moment, but I´m sure that it went well. My companions always make fun of my terrible memory. I don´t know why, but my memory works differently than everyone else. I can´t remember faces or names, but I can remember where they are located. After teaching someone two times and if I find them in another location outside of their home or the church, I won´t recognize them. I´ll know that I´ve seen them before, but where, or when, or who they are, I have no clue whatsoever. I have to sit there and piece together the clues while my companion greets them to see what he says. For that reason, I´m so glad that I have a companion with me at all times. But I always say that there is something good about my poor memory, I can relive the same adventure twice and not be bored of it.

I´m glad that the surgery went well Dad and am sorry that you won´t be able to go fly for a while. That is probably a big bummer. And I´m glad the rest of the family is well. Friday, my companion put me for a scare. At three in the morning he turned the lights on. The first thing that went through my mind, “The alarm wasn´t set right? Did I sleep in past 6:30? Am I being disobedient?” But then he asked me for a blessing. He had been up for an hour throwing up and having diarrhea, at the same time. So, I gave him the blessing and gave him some crema de bismuto (I forget how to say that in English, the pink liquid). And we went back to bed. Then in the morning he spent most of the time in the bathroom. We woke up Hma. Lydia Aquino, our member neighbor, to go buy some medicine. The strangest thing was that he was throwing up a black/dark brown color. I had never seen that before. But, then we realized what the problem was. It smelled of chocolate. A lot of times, the Elders here, on Thursday night do what is called “Oreo night.” He ate a package of Oreos (11 I think) with milk and that ruined his stomach. Maybe he had a problem with something he ate a lunch too, I don´t know. It seems like the majority of the time, the day after we eat with the member we eat with on Thursdays, one of us gets sick. After 24 hours of cleaning out his digestive system, he was better. But we lost the majority of the working day. He says that he might not touch Oreos again in his life. I´ve always told the other Elders that it is unwise to eat a full package of Oreos at once, but they often think I´m a “health freak” for saying it. I find my body fairly fragile, so I try to take care of it the best I can with what I eat.

You asked about when I´ll be transferred? It will be next Monday. So, I have this last week here in Jardines. It has been really short and I feel like I haven´t done nearly anything here, but I have seen great growth here. My greatest joy I believe has come from the experience of the Salazar family. The Bishop when I got here asked that we bring men into the church. We weren´t able to do that so much. But the Lord had other plans in mind. We helped bring back several men. Also, the entire Paulino family came this past week. The father has come back and accepted an assignment with the young men. I think he still has some word of wisdom problems, so he can´t have a calling, but his help could be used.

I´ll miss this ward, but especially the bishop. It was like we were in this together—he being called as a new bishop and us getting here in a white wash. He would always help encourage us and was very open to our ideas. Actually, I felt that he confided in us as counsellors at times because he only had one who has his own difficulties. And now Bishop Fleytas recently fathered a new son. It has been good to be apart of these joyous occasions.

I believe that this next Sunday, we have decided to have the baptism of Lucas. He is a 9 yr. old kid who lives next door to some members that are helping us a lot. I believe he has a bit of ADHD and his mom wants him to go to church and be baptized to help him mature better. He really likes going to church. The week after I leave, I hope I´ll here of the baptism of Manuel Pastrana and Hernán. Manuel is the husband of a member and he recently stopped drinking, so he is more receptive of the Spirit and is going to church now. Hernán is a 17 year old kid that has some of the adolescent problems but we see that he really wants to make good changes in his life. He wants to have a true repentance and be baptized. The only problem is that his Mom is against it and Hernán doesn´t allow us to go to his house to meet her. So, we sent him with a video to show her that explains a bit about what we do and believe. I hope that will soften her heart.

Oh, and about the package, I think I might want a bit more Prego sauce. I think of all the things I´ve been without in my mission, I miss that most. The European style sauces here are good, but not the same. I usually add a little bit of chilli pepper to give it a little more zest.

Thank you for all of your prayers and help that you are giving me. I know that this work is not a work of man, but the work of God. He had His plan and it is perfect. We just need to accept Him, be humble, have faith in Christ and His atonement, repent, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. It really is that easy, but we are tried with every problem God can give us so that we can learn to apply it perfectly.

With love,
Elder Drake Ranquist

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lecciones y Estres

Dear Family,

To reply to some of the basic stuff, I have no clue where you would find my BYU ID. I´m sure you´d find it on my BYU ID card, but at this moment I don´t remember where that is. Maybe I have it in my wallet, but I doubt it. Maybe it is in the mission safe. Maybe it is at home. No sé. If you are able to log into my BYU account, you´d probably be able to find it in there too. Sorry if I´m of no help there.

And I don´t know if you are thinking of sending another package any time soon, but if you are, it would be nice if you would put in it some more Post-Its, more socks, and a Pez dispenser (one of the members here collects Pez dispensers from the Yankee missionaries). But it isn´t an emergency at all any of those things. I´m still alright, just a heads up.

And also, they´ve changed our mail accounts. It now goes through gmail. My new email is It has a huge memory, so we won´t have to worry as much about the space it takes to receive and send photos.

Jonathan, I can´t really imagine what you are going through right now. I really haven´t been faced with death much in my life. We´ve gone through the passing away of our grandparents, our aunt, and one of our neighbors, but I haven´t had to face it as you are now. But this I do know: Death is just the door to a new adventure. It is sad the way your friend chose to pass to the other side, but he and his family can continue on with faith and hope. There may be a better opportunity to share your testimony that you know what happens after death. That our spirit lives on waiting the day of our resurrection. That everyone, no matter what they said or did, just by the fact that they chose to come to this earth, will be blessed with a perfect body to live on forever. Life will go on in joy. And everyone will receive a just “prize” for our actions, inheriting a kingdom of glory. In each of these glories, there will be joy to be had. We push ourselves to be worthy to enter into that great and glorious Celestial kingdom, but even those who do not make it will participate in joy and rest from the labors of this life. Continue with your prayers of faith and continue being my happy, smiley brother. I have always admired your persistence in times of difficulty and the light that illuminates all around you. I still have a lot to learn from you.

And I´ll continue praying for you Mom and Dad. And I know they´ll be answered by what is best for you both. Thank you for your support and example.

This past week, here in Jardines, has also been full of ups and downs. I don´t think I´ve ever taught so much in my entire mission. The Lord blessed us with many people to find and help. I feel good that I can say that we worked hard. But along with all of that work came a lot of stress. We were constantly thinking about how we can help all the people we are teaching and how we can achieve our goals. If the Lord has in mind that I´ll be a zone leader next transfer, I think He is training me now how to achieve the numbers necessary to set a good example.

We were really glad that we could participate in the confirmation of Yanina. The Bishop surprised me by asking me to do the confirmation. I felt like it was an honor. And I could feel that the Spirit was there. I just wish that Rita and Julio had come to witness this step of their daughter. They told us all week that they would come, but while they were getting ready, some cousins came from Peru, without prior notice. That happens way too much here in Argentina. We have been praying a lot that they might gain their own testimonies.

We had a lot of new investigators in sacrament meeting again. But it is weird. We can help many people come for the first time, but we have difficulties helping them come a second time. They want to, but there is always a larger test they have to overcome the second time to get to church. I´m not sure if I´ll see the baptism of very many people before I leave Jardines in two weeks, but I´m hoping that I have planted and helped many seeds grow so that they can bring forth fruit in the coming months. I hope I´ll be able to be constant these next two weeks and these next six months and work with all my might (I passed the 18 month mark on Saturday and I´m hoping that I´ll be able to work harder and use the experience I have gained to make these last six months the best in my mission).

I know that this is the kingdom of God here on Earth that we are helping to build. I know that God is at the head and will help us be and achieve what He has in mind. His will will be done, usually in small and simple means. I love the fact that I can participate and dread the day when I have to give up my nametag and lose the authority to be His representative.

With love,
Elder Drake Ranquist