Sunday, July 18, 2010

Empujando La Piedra

12 Jul 2010

Dear Family,

¿Puedo hablar en español con ustedes? No, I´m not that inept at speaking English now, but this week we did find a lady from California who wanted us to speak in English with her and it was really difficult for me. It was just as difficult for her because she´s been here for 20 years. It was weird talking with her in that I´ve come to love many parts of the Argentine culture that when so much of the Californian gestures and culture came from her, it made me a little uncomfortable.

I´m glad that you got through this past week well. This past week had a few highlights in our week too. 9 de Julio (July 9th) was the independence day of Argentina and there was a fairly good activity that the ward hosted. There were some games, an explanation of the independence, and a demonstration of a folkloric dance by the youth. Then there were empanadas and choripan (a sausage sandwich that is really good, but full of fats and grease). But the highlight was when a professional folklore singer came (I think he was from one of the neighboring wards). He made me want to learn to sing like that. And an interesting thing was that I was able to understand the words to the Mexican song "Cealita Linda" (I don´t remember it well right now, so I don´t know the name exactly).

The other highlight was a step of courage that we made. After the visit of Elder Aidukaitis, President Benton started doing contacts in the buses when with the zone leaders. I decided that I wanted to try one with Elder Berglund. The first few times that we decided to do it, when we got on the bus and saw so many people, we chickened out. But, on Tuesday, after zone conference, we got on and I started saying loudly to everyone, "Brothers and Sisters, if we could have your attention please. We want to sing a hymn from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While we sing, imagine your own children singing this song to you." And then we sang the first verse of "I´m a Child of God." And then we talked with every person individually. It took a lot of guts, but we were able to do it. It helped me feel that I had fulfilled part of my patriarchal blessing where it says, "I bless you that you will overcome your fears and inhibitions to declare loudly that the gospel has been restored, that there are living modern prophets, and that the priesthood is on the earth once more."

Thank you Dad for getting ahold of those "collection items" for Hmo. Guzman. I´m sure that he´ll be quite happy, even if it isn´t in pristine condition. But, this week he also asked another thing. He wants a biography of Davy Crockett in Spanish. He loves to learn about whatever.

And I hope you recover well Mom. I await your coming, but I don´t want you to do anything that would perjudicate (is that the English translation of perjudicar? Maybe jeopardize is the right translation) your health. So just keep getting better and I´ll pray for you.

This sunday was ward conference (the first since they were a branch). I loved it and one of the stories that the Bishop told really helped me. "There was a man that was praying and his room filled with light and Jesus Christ appeared to him, saying `I have a great work for you to do. There is a rock outside that you need to push with all your heart, might, and strength.´ So, the next day the man went out and started pushing this rock as hard as he could all day long. He finished the day tired and weak and retired the next day. He went out and pushed with all his might the next day. And thus he did for a full year. Then he started thinking, `I´m not getting anywhere with this.´ That night Satan took advantage and came and said, `You´re a failure. You haven´t even so much as pushed that rock one millimeter. It isn´t worth the effort. You should just give up.´ Even more discouraged the man decided that he would go to Christ, explain how he had failed and that he wouldn´t do it any more. The next day Christ appeared and consoled him, `My brother, I never once asked you to move the rock. Look at your strong back, your toned muscles, your tanned skin. You have been faithful to me in pushing the rock and done as I´ve asked. I will now move the rock.´" I´ve kind of felt that we have´nt gotten anywhere with the investigators for the past month. That help me realize that even though the rock isn´t moving, I should keep pushing. And I know it is worth it.

Elder Drake Ranquist

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