Serving in the Argentina Cordoba Mission July 2011 - July 2013

Serving in the Argentina Cordoba Mission July 2011-July 2013
Alma 37:36 Yea, and cry into God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord: yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.

Monday, 24 October 2011

WEEK 13 - a whole talk in Spanish, washing clothes by hand?, and riding a motorbike

Monday October 24, 2011

Well hey there buddies!!

So first off I would like to say thank you for all the addresses and also for the recipes it will really come in handy. Thanks for all the support and love. I really enjoy getting all your letters it always makes Pday so much fun!! Got lots to write today so better get to it.

So this week has been pretty good we did a lot as usual but idk its weird to think that I’ve already been here for pretty much a month.  Times really does fly while you are here and it seems like the transfer is almost over.  So I have not told you my area so I better do that now.  It’s called Renacimiento and it’s a pretty small area lots of walking and like you would see in the pics just house by house by house and it just goes on forever haha but no it’s really good.  It’s like the ghetto of Cordoba and it’s within the city on the east side and is pretty cool. We are not allowed to go to some areas after 6 pm because it gets too dangerous and there have been incidents with Elders being chased out by gun point and stuff like that. But the area is really good and just trying to work hard and do our very best here.

More about my comp is, so he is Elder L he is from Texas and so I think I’m destined to be with every Elder from Texas cause I’ve gotten 2 in a row so far haha but ya his family are all members, mom dad 1 bro 2 sis and he was a marine and served 4 years in the military which I think is pretty awesome, he is 23 and he’s a great missionary and he is serving as District leader so ya that’s my comp.

We have an investigator here named M and she is about 50 + year old and she came to church this week and so this is her second attendance, and so now we just need to get her an interview because she is going to be baptized this Saturday so that should be exciting.  She is super cool and really receptive and we are also teaching her son and his wife too! Such a great family. But actually they are not married and that’s one thing about Argentina, because it takes so long to get married on paper people don’t actually get married they just move in together and say they are which is hard and why it takes people so long to get baptized sometimes cause they have to get married first which is kind of a bummer.

But ya as I said lots has happened and one of those things was I gave my first talk on Sunday here in Argentina, and it had to be all in Spanish this time so that was a little scary but man I liked it, it was weird I was nervous but not at the same time and I definitely know the Lord was helping me while I was speaking. It was also a blessing because I was talking about the BOM and so I really enjoyed talking about that and the power that it has. I was also able to learn a lot of things just for myself this week.  Something’s happened during the week and I was really able to learn a good lesson about trust and what trust is, and I guess vie never really thought about it before, I’ve just always assumed that I’ve always known but really I haven’t and it took me this long to figure out really what full trust means. and that’s something I really want to have is trust with myself, with the Lord and with my companion because I know now that when we can have trust with these people that our work can become a lot easier and will start to get better in everything that we do.

Another interesting thing that happened this week was that I was able to give a blessing well I didn’t give it but I was able to anoint the oil because a sister that we are super close with and she is the best sister in our ward, man I love her, she has such a good heart but anyway I was able to anoint and Elder Lerma gave the blessing so that was interesting.  It was so hard to say the words in Spanish and I had such a hard time but that’s just how it goes sometimes. ALSO I had my first motorcycle ride of my life on Friday, so we were late getting to the chapel for futbol on Friday and our investigators that come were driving by and stopped to offer us a ride and here like everyone has mopeds or motorcycles cause they don’t have the money for cars and so me and Elder L just hopped on the back and got to ride on them to the chapel haha that was pretty fun.

Also you might have seen the pics I had so now we are doing our own wash and so this is how we wash our clothes now and man am I grateful for a washing machine and dryer back home, it saves soooo much time and energy but that’s how life is now and I can be grateful when I get home.  There is also this Elder here named Elder B and me and him are soo tight, we are in the same district so we see each other pretty often, but man he’s a great guy and a good missionary. Me and him have so much in common and I love him he’s just so sweet and I’m definitely chillin with this guy after the mish haha but we just like the same stuff and have such good times together.

But hey it’s time for some things, that’s so great Tim got his mission call! I’m pumped for him and Spanish too!! It’s so cool to hear other people getting their calls and also that he leaves on Nov 30th that is soooo soon!!! It’s weird to think how fast that is!  And I can’t remember if I said it last week but for Jeremy too!! Wow mandarin that is gunna be awesome! He is going to  have such a good time and I’m excited to see how it is learning that language!  So I have got dear elders from Sept 27 but nothing else yet and it all depends on the office because everything goes through there so things take quite the while to get here just to let you know.

And Sara that is so cool that you got into the speech thing and got 3rd place too!! I remember I was in the competition in g10 but I defs didn’t win anything but hey that’s soo cool for you and I’m glad you did it.

I don’t know what really else to write oh mom if you could send me the recipe for french onion soup that would be awesome and I would love to make that!  But everything is cool here there is a lot more stuff that happens here that I don’t say that I don’t have time to say but just know there is more things happening that what you hear and 99 percent of them are good!  But I love you guys and hope all is well with you all and I want you all to know that I love you and think about and pray for you!! Anyway until next week.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

WEEK 12 -Happy Mother's Day and always learning

Monday, October 17, 2011

Oh hey I forgot to say that our ward is having some problems with the members so we are trying to work with them, and some don’t seem to like us and it’s hard to get them to come out with us but we are doing our best and trying our hardest to have success. We won’t be having lunch with them anymore so that’s a little disappointing.  But ya it’s hard to work with them sometimes when they say they will but then always cancel on us but all is well love you all byebye

Ok so first off I want to say HAPPY MOTHERS DAY and your probs thinking hey it’s not even close to Mothers Day but here in Argentina it was yesterday so I’m a little late.  But hey I can still say it or I guess it would be Feliz Dia De Madres! 

So to start off I want to say that right now I hate dogs because they always bark and are trying to bite me and I’ve come close many times to kicking one in the head cause it’s trying to bite me with its rabies covered mouth but besides that I’m doing great haha. Like I’m trying my best and having my ups and downs of the day or week but I find that as soon I go out and start doing the work everything gets better.  Just have to do the service and all feelings of frustration or anything go away. I’m doing good I would say.  But one thing I am learning to love along with the people is futbol aka soccer, its soo much fun and I’m getting better already. We play at least once a week and it’s just a blast! So many new ways to do things its soo much fun and I hope I can actually compete with people now when I get back cause before I was and still am terrible!!.

But anyway this week I had my first zone conference and I got to say about 75 percent of the things said went right over my head. But from what I got it helped a lot and was really good. I find myself being so tired because translating all day hurts my brains and it just wants to shut down. I do my best always to listen but it’s hard when my brains doesn’t want to work.  So I just need to step back relax and then go at it again and I know I won’t understand everything but I try my best that’s for sure.  And I found out this week that my trainer also trained Elder Van Loo which was Elder Henry’s MTC comp so that was interesting to find out he’s my brother.

My comp is great though, we have a lot in common and there are times when I don’t agree with him and he doesn’t with me  but he’s a really good guy, and he’s nuts too. He’s from Texas if I didn’t mention that but man he’s a good worker, very helpful and encouraging.

 The food is pretty good, the other day I got to eat mashed potatoes and I didn’t think that was gunna happen anytime soon but it did. I think I’m becoming Argentine because they like to put mayo on like everything and so I put some on my potatoes like everyone did and it was really good actually I liked it so ya I’m changing in many ways I didn’t think possible!!  hahaha.  And speaking of food yesterday I ate the nastiest thing!  It was like this bread roll with moldy toothpaste inside covered in mayo and topped with olives so I’m not becoming that Argentine but man was it hard to eat, I was almost gagging luckily we got it as we were going out the door so they didn’t need to see my face when I ate it. 

 So interesting stories for the week, we got robbed last pday so that was fun, and don’t worry it wasn’t too bad cause we didn’t actually see who robbed us cause it was pick pocketed and we were just walking and I noticed Elder Lerma’s bag was open and we found that our cell phone was missing so now for the next while we are without a cell phone.  But a scary thing that did happen was our mission leader the same day was robbed by gunpoint. It was him and his wife who is pregnant and they came up and asked for everything and then pointed the gun at her belly and she fainted, but luckily they are all ok and they are doing fine now.  And also the other day we got caught in the rain. So we were outside and it just stared pouring and we tried to contact our way into a house cause our pension was pretty far and so we were out in it for about 30 to 40 min and like right when we got inside somewhere it stopped so ya that was fun. We came back and were totally drenched!!

 But yesterday was a really good day for me; I learned a lot about the doctrine and myself.  As I was taking the sacrament I was thinking and I know we teach that when we take the sacrament we are as clean as the day we are baptized and I’ve never really thought that is true before. But yesterday as I partook it hit me that right now I am as clean as the day I was baptized that I was perfect and free from sin, and a great peace came over me that I could really know that that was true and I can be that clean every week of my life form this day on, so just something I learned.  And how important it is to take the sacrament every week.  And then that night me and Elder Lerma had a little interview and I shared a lot with him and really opened up and was able to really feel the spirit as I learned a lot about myself and about him and the way we can grow together.  It was a great experience and we both shared a lot with each other.  But ya I learned a lot in the last 24 hours.

 Well thank you for the addresses and all that stuff. My area is pretty sweet idk how to really describe it so I’ll send some pics next week but it’s like cement and dusty a bit and just I don’t know its home now haha. I’ll try to think of an explanation for next week  but Erin and Sara so the people here love you guys, its kind of creepy.  We showed our pics to a member and they were like are they models'?  haha so ya and some of the guys in my pension are like wow they are so pretty , and this one boy said cuinado which means brother in law about Sara hahah aka he wants to marry you. but ya so they love your pics down here.

 Oh and mom before I go I want to ask you to send some recipes that I can make that are simple maybe if you can send one a week that would be great but 2 if you would like to. Your dumplings with the carrots in the broth I think, and also tuna noodle casserole.  But ya all is well with me and I love you all soo much!!!  I’m glad you are my family and give everyone else my love and those that are coming home from missions too.  I LOVE YOU ALL and hope the best for you

Love Your Boy  Elder Harker

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

WEEK 11 - How to kill a chicken, blisters and learning about covenants

Monday October 10, 2011
Ok so I’ve got lots to say today so I hope I can say it all.

 So this week has had its ups and down just like usual but more ups than downs at least I would say.  My comp is great, we get along well and sometimes just like anyone you have your disputes but we can usually work it out in about 5 min and then get over it and so it’s all good.  He’s a really hard worker and he loves the work and the people so it looks like its gunna be a good transfer. I enjoy his company and we get a lot done and I have the blisters to prove it!! I now have 4 on each foot so ya I’m working pretty hard I think and don’t worry mom I’m fine just to let you know.  

This last week we had what is called an intercambio aka splits and so I went to another area and was with Elder Casas, he’s a pretty cool guy and so we had a lot of walking cause all of our appointments fell through on us except 2 and their area is pretty big and has a lot of hills so it was a long day of walking, but still it was good.  The blessing was I got to do a lot of contacting that day, I got like 13 or something and this week I got 47 on my own and I had the most in the district cause we had a little competition to see who could get the most.

So some interesting things that happened this week, well where to start.  I definitely learned how to kill a chicken the other day.  I know now that all you have to do is put it in a yard with 2 dogs and they will tear it apart and yes I did see that, it was really kind of cool idk but ya we saw 2 dogs just destroy this chicken.  Then the roof was fun we took a bunch of pics and we can see our whole area from up there because our area is not that big but it was awesome to see all of that.  And now I’m starting to improve slow but sure at futbol we play every week and sometimes more with investigators so hopefully by the time I get back I’ll be like Messi hahah I wish.  Some of the people here are still using a horse and buggy to get around so I also thought that was a little interesting..... hhhmmmmm what else.  The other day it was pouring buckets and I got to use my rain coat and I found out that it really is 100 percent water proof so that’s good .

 Ok so onto investigators, we are working with many and some are progressing really well but I’ve found that the church attendance is the biggest difficulty here in Argentina. They really like to make commitments and then not keep them.  So that’s what me and Elder Lerma have been working on this week and will continue to is getting our investigators to church. We did have one this week who came and that’s good but we have about 5 investigators that are doing well but out of those 5 only one came.  Then our star investigator, his name is J and he’s great.  He didn’t commit to come to church and that’s why I like him because he’s not putting it off until he knows he can but he doesn’t want to fill his plate with too much. He really enjoys our lessons and when we teach him I always feel the spirit soo strong. He understands well and he wants to keep moving forward and I really hope all works out with him.

One thing Elder Lerma taught me and which is very special to me now is that we can make covenants with God and I mean our own, I never really knew that.  We decided to make one with our Heavenly Father and in it we asked for specific things and in return we would provide ourselves to him and do specific things to earn our end of the covenant. This has been a great experience so far because I feel I have really given myself to the Lord to do what he wants me to do.  Our relationship with the Lord is very special and we need to always try and understand and learn more about the bond we have with the Lord. Through this experience I have felt the spirit more abundantly in my life and I feel I am more prone to the promptings of the spirit.  It’s really been a learning experience as well because I now understand him a little bit more. I challenge you to find out the connection you have with our Father in Heaven and strive to strengthen that connection.  I miss you guys’ a lot and I am doing well here in Argentina but I love you!

 Well that’s kinda been my week just work, sleep, work ,sleep and then some futbol so it’s pretty good I like it, But let me know what’s going on with you guys?? I always want to know what my fam is up to.  But I think that’s about all I have to write for now but maybe I'll think of something quick.
Oh and one more thing, Tyler said he saw 5 people on a moped and I saw not 6 people but a guy riding his bike carrying an entire bed!!!! haha I thought it was funny!

But Love you lots and hope to hear from you next week!!


Wednesday, 5 October 2011

WEEK 10 - He's arrived - Argentina!

Wad up Fam!!!
 How’s life back in Calgary?? It’s not the same here! haha but all is well.  I guess the last time I wrote you was last Friday in the MTC but I did get to talk to you since then so that was even better.  But about the travel, it was way long! We were traveling for something  like 32-33 hours straight, I’ll tell you it was not fun. We went from Dallas to Buenos Aires and that flight was about 11 hours and usually I can sleep on planes but on this one nope.  The seats were the smallest I’ve ever experienced and so my legs literally barely fit and I walked around a bunch but it was still hard. I slept for probs about 1 to 2 hours the whole flight. It was very uncomfortable for the whole flight.  And I know I get grumpy when I travel for that long but I really tried my best to be in a good mood.  We arrived at the airport in Buenos Aires and got all our stuff and met our travel leader named Alberto.  We then went to another part of the airport to wait to see what would happen next and while we were there we saw the Assistants and Mission Pres from the Buenos Aires West Mission, so I told him to say hi to Elder Kwasney for me.  Then after waiting for like 2 hours we went and got on a bus that would take us to another airport in Buenos Aires that just flies within the country.  At this point we put our luggage on a bus that they were driving to Cordoba.  Then we got on a bus to this other airport and I think within like 2 min of sitting down I was asleep because I was so dead. We got to the airport and went to board our flight to Cordoba,flew for about an hour and then got off the plane.  But ya so then we met our Mission President, and he is pretty cool.  He speaks both English and Spanish fluently so it’s good for us gringos that don’t speak Spanish at all.   We took some pictures when we were out of the airport and then took taxis to the central of police to work on some visa stuff.  Then just back to the mission home. We were introduced to the assistants and the office elders a little more and then watched a talk from Elder Holland and then we had dinner. It was about let’s say like 10 at that point so we were all soo tired. We had empanadas and they were heavenly!!  Anyway then that night we stayed at a hotel and the next morning we had a great start because Elder Hruska’s alarm didn’t go off so we got up at 715 and had to be at the mission home at 745 so we got ready and sprinted there and were ready in about 5 min.  Then just more visas stuff that day and the interview with the Pres to get to know me and so he can see what comp I would get.  Then we went to another meeting where I met my comp Elder Lerma. He’s a great Elder, a hard worker and always strives to be obedient.  He is a great example to me and I feel that I can learn a lot from him.  He has a great spirit about him and he’s always trying to better himself. From what I can tell from being with him these last few days I think our companionship will work very well.  He is a great and hard working Elder.

 Well about the work, the first day we went straight to work. We had a few visits and in one of them two ladies started to breast feed right there. Now I heard that would happen but I thought it was rare or something and didn’t expect it on my first night, but it happens and it was kind of weird. I just tried to focus on the things we were teaching but when you can’t understand anything anyone is saying it’s hard to focus on the conversation.  Not saying that I was looking but I was definitely trying to focus on other things and just keep the lesson in my mind. So that was a weird first night.  But anyway the last days have been good here just working away as best I can and it was hard at first but it’s getting easier.  I just gotta keep my mind on the Lord always.  The investigators we are working with are : M. (who I put a fecha with on Friday and that means I put a baptismal date on my second day) and then there is, the A. family who is a family of 10, C. and his family who has 9 in that family, C. who is a guy we taught right before conference. and then the C. who is V. and her husband with 5 kids.  Not all the people I just named are of age to be baptized but they are the ones we are working with the most and hopefully the work will continue.  Oh also contacting is way harder than I expected and in Spanish wow its tough!! But whatever just gotta do it.  The Spanish is hard and its way hard to understand, harder than I thought but it’s getting a little better every day and I know it will come I just need to be patient and listen carefully. So ya there’s just so much I want to write.

 Alright so futbol aka soccer man it’s hard!! All the people here are soo good and so intense I am such a gringo it’s so hard but, with practice makes perfect or at least that’s how the saying goes, but I hope to improve in these next two years so I can do something hahah but whatever I like getting my butt kicked by 5 year olds.

 Ok so conference, oh man it was amazing I loved it!!! I got to watch it in English too!!  That was a bonus,all the Elders in my zone who speak English all watched it together to get the most out of it!! It was soo good and now that I’m on a mission I definitely have a better appreciation for Conference.  We have been inviting a lot of people to Conference this week and we got about 7 of our investigators to come and that was a great number to have.  Our zone had 30 total and we got 7 which was really good!!  The talks were amazing and I don’t want to spend too much time on it cause I know you heard them too but all were so good.  The priesthood especially and man when Elder Holland came out and dropped cane!! Man that was nuts, oh dropped cane or bajando la caña is a phrase here to like lay down the law it’s just an Argentine thing but it was great.  I loved conference soo much!!!  and I got to go on splits with this Elder named Elder Bridge who is from Raymond and is friends with Tyler Johnson so that was cool. Actually he’s cousins with Ivy who Tyler is dating which I thought was kind of neat. Small world.

But that’s good you are all doing well and enjoyed Conference well except Sara who got hives but I’m glad you’re all doing well.  And that you got to spend Conference with others is fun. I hope Sara is doing better and I hope Erin had a good time at Conference as well.

 Other things going on I ate like dog or cat the other day just to let you know, no big deal or anything and it tasted ok I guess. The food, weather and apartment are all good I guess. The weather for you guys that kind of sucks but I’m going into summer again which is good and the weather here has not been too bad,  just warm and my farmers tan is coming along great!!  Not too hot not too cold and all is good. The food is good, I really haven’t eaten much since I got here, just this baby food cereal we eat for breakfast which is actually really good and then sometimes we go for lunch to a members house or just have a snack at our place but I don’t eat dinner anymore. It’s weird cause I never really feel that hungry.  Sorry but I forgot to take a picture of our pension aka apartment so I’ll do that for next week.

 I hope all is well with you guys and I love you all soo much. I don’t really have much to say anymore and all is well with me. The first few days were scary not gunna lie and I thought I was gunna die when I saw my pension but all is good now. I’m getting adjusted and I’m doing what I need to, to be a good missionary.  I got a letter from Elder Henry the day I got here so that was really nice.I’m doing my best to be obedient and sometimes it’s hard to get up in the morning cause I’m always tired but you just gotta do it.  I love you all hope all is going great and hope to hear from you all in about a week!!!

Love your little big boy

Elder Kentis Harker