Monday, November 25, 2013

"I have never been pushed so hard..."

Hola mi Familia y mis Amigos!!!

Well im in Argentina. It is so crazy here. I love it. I have never been pushed so hard as now, being thrust into another culture and being expected to integrate and thrive. It has been so crazy but an awesome expirience. Its a good thing I have God with me or I probably would be dead from exhaustion or something. I don´t even know where to start this letter so I will just write stuff as it comes to my mind...

Well I arrived in Buenos Aires after a whole day of traveling. Then we, me and the rest of the greenies, got on a bus and got shipped out to the mission home in Banfield. A lot of the pics I took are of the city on my drive to Banfield. Once at the mission home we got to kinda chill. We all got interviews from the mission president, President Thurgood, and then we had an awesome lunch! pizza and empenadas. Can´t go wrong with that. I should have Cherished it a lot more but I´ll explain more about that later. Then we got assigned Trainers and Areas. My companion is Elder Silar. He is from Colorado and has been out a little over a year and a half. He is going to be a good trainer. He knows his stuff. He told me straight up the other day that he is just going to keep pushing me so that I can be ready to run an area in 6 weeks, instead of the typical 12 you get trained for. I guess there is the possibility that he is going to get reassigned a new area next transfer so I need to know the area and the people. Que Fuerte! Well as for my Area... I am serving on the outskirts of the city La Plata, in a barrio called Villa Montoro (I´m sure you guys could look it up on google maps). It is down south a little ways from the main city of Buenos Aires. It took 5 hours on the busses and trains to get to our Pench.

our Pench (pension-place where we stay) is... yeah I dont really know how to describe it. Its Me, Elder Silar, and the missionaries from Villa Montoro B, Elder Rios from peru and Elder Corry another Greenie. I love Elder Rios and Elder Correy. Elder Rios is so funny hahaha he reminds me of Trey a little. Everything leaks but I do have running water and a shower. Its not always hot though. Its like 3 blocks from the chappel so its pretty nice. The food... well its awesome when I have it. Argentina is weird in the fact that their only real meal is lunch. Breakfast and dinner are practically non-existant. Ladies, I dont think you will have to worry to much about me gaining a lot of weight hahaha. Pretty much for breakfast I have a bowl of Copos de Maiz, otherwise known as cornflakes, lunch I will have either this type of fried chicken called milanesia or chicken and noodles and some red sauce, and for dinner I typically heat up 3 not real hot dogs and eat those with some picante sauce and a piece of bread. Its a feast. 

My area is kinda a campo(field). I am one of the few areas that has bikes becasue i have such a large area to cover. my legs are getting pretty jacked. There are just horses in the street sometimes so its pretty cool. It is a realy pretty area.  As far people I love them. Villa Montoro B kinda took all the peeple we were teaching but we have been finding more and we have two baptisms coming up on December 7th. Gabriel, a 9 year old, and Matias, a 10 year old that reminds me of my cousin Diego. I have to say my favorite part about my area and Argentina in general is the kids. The other day we were looking for members on the registry that we hd never met before. They dont have addresses here so pretty much you go to the block and clap doors( yes clap. you dont knock on doors here) and ask to find people. We were clapping a door and some kids came out. I showed them some tricks with my watch and a picture of my family and long story short, I pretty muched just played with the 3 kids for like 30 min while my comp taught the mom about the Book or Mormon and now they are coming to church on sunday. Score! the  kids reminded me of my brothers and sister. Its so hard seeing kids like that cuz it makes me homesick, or seeing babies because it makes me think about how you, Mom, would be picking them up and playing with them and talking in that voice you always make to babies hahaha. I´ll survive though haha. 

Ok well just as predicted...I don´t know what people are saying. In the MTC I learned spanish and it was with a bunch of other gringos. Here they speak Castellano (pronounced casteshano). and they speak way fast. pretty much my first night we had a cita and the lady started talking to me and i was just like ´´what´´. I didn´t understand half of what she said. It is getting better and I can kinda participate in coversations but it is way hard. I am trying though and I guess I am doing well according to other people but pretty much its going to feel like a really long road till I´m fluent.

Well I love you all and miss you so much. I hope all is well back home! Also as far as mail since im kinda out here I will get it once every 6 weeks when I go to transfers becasue since lack of addresses I cant recieve mail directly but dont stop to write because it will be like christmas when I get to read them. ¡Hasta Luego! 

Elder Tyler Whitaker

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Well, I'm headed to Argentina for sure...

Hola Familia!

Well, I’m headed to Argentina for sure.  I’m so excited.  I miss all of you so much.  I’m wrapping up my last week at the MTC.  I’m a zone leader so I’m pretty busy but it is a good time.  I have a lot of good guys in my zone that  I am going to miss, but the MTC is a good time.  I have gotten to talk to Elder Barton a lot here which has been fun.  The Spanish is going well and I’m learning.  I can definitely feel your prayers behind me.

So how’s the family doing?  How are my little pandas (our dogs).  Only 1 more month until I get to skype them.  Haha just kidding momma!

I haven’t gotten to hear from my little bros or sis in awhile.  I don’t know how long written mail takes to get to Argentina but definitely shoot me an email or a “Dear Elder”!

Dad, I miss you a lot, and all of your advice has really helped me out here.  You are such a great role model.  The ball hasn’t always taken the right bounces for you but you never quit and continue to work hard and that is something I have been applying to my mission.  I love you Dad!

Momma, I miss you so much and I love all the letters!  Way good idea to forward my friends letters so I have time to read them!  Thanks for being such a great mom to me.  You have really helped me prepare for this.  The only bad thing is that you were such a great mom, and I miss you so much!  There are some nights after a long day I just want to give you a hug.  You are so strong.  I know that you don’t want to have to be strong but just know that as you are faithful God will be your strength.  I pray for you everyday and those are worth double because I am a missionary. (haha).

How is Grandma doing?  I just got her letter yesterday so tell her thank you, and I hope she is doing well.  I don’t know if I’ll have time to write her this Pday, but I’m going to try on the plane to Atlanta!

Laney, I miss you!  I don’t have anyone to throw lemons at up here!  No fun!  I miss playing Stratego with you!  Maybe if you practice at beating Trent & Trey you might be able to beat me... key word, might... haha J

Well, I love you all so much, Trent & Trey, don’t be offended you aren’t in here because you got personal letters from me.  You better save those. Haha!

Well, I’m doing great here and soon I’ll be doing great on the other side of the world!  God is with me and helping me every step of the way!  I love you!

Con Amor,

Elder Tyler Whitaker

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Not easy, but a sacrifice we're willing to make...

This is a blog about the adventures of my son, Elder Tyler Whitaker, while on his 2 year mission to Buenos Aires South, Argentina.  He is a great son, and brother, and we love him, and miss him fiercely everyday.  But we're also proud of the wonderful person he is, and grateful for the man he is becoming...,  At an age where most are self centered, he is putting his hopes and dreams aside for 2 years, while he serves Heavenly Father, and the people in South America.  We drove him to the airport on October 9, and said goodbye...

...My last email from America!

Hola mi Familia y mis Amigos!

At Provo Temple with companions
Well this is my last email from America! I got my travel plans and I leave the MTC at 6 on monday and I will land In Buenos Aires at 8:00am the next day. I'm so stoked right now! Stoked and a little scared but mostly stoked! I will be leaving the coldness in Utah and going to the beginning of summer in Argentina which isn't to shabby! Well this week has been a good one! Lots of things happening and keeping me busy! My district is now the oldest in the Zone! Que Fuerte! I felt like I was just getting off the bus and looking at the zone leaders and being like dang they are so experienced! Now thats me. My friends in the older district are gone now and mis companeros and I are now the Zone leaders. Pretty weird. I miss the old district though! I made some good friends in there and it was sad to see them go! I got to see some friends and make some friends this week though! I saw Elder Wyatt Corbin for the last time on sunday before he left for mexico, I got to spend some more time with one of my best friends Elder Jared Barton and I got to talk to one of my new friends I made just before i left Hermana Jordy Zimmerman! I love seeing friends in the MTC just because it is so cool to see the change that happens with us together and to know that I'm not the only one leaving my whole life behind! Its so awesome!

I learned a lot to. My companions and I are at the point where we can communicate and arent fumbling over our words to bad, we arent Shakespeares but we can communicate which is a miracle in itself. But now that we are able to communicate we have really been working on our teaching ability. It was super frustrating and humbling to me to not be able to teach a good lesson for my life. we weren't progressing with those we were teaching at all and it made me so mad. As I went throughout the week I really humbled myself and realized that I was trying to rely to much on my own abilities and not on the help of God. I truly realized that on my own I am weak. As we went through the week though we really targeted what we needed to do and let the spirit work through us and we saw a miracle in how our teaching changed. If we are humble God truly will help us overcome our trials and help us succeed. Im glad to have learned this lesson now before I get to Argentina. I am so lucky to have such great teachers like Hermana Gibson and Hermano Serrato! They have the spirit with them so strong and I hope to be able to become like them during my mission.

Its going to be so crazy being on the other side of the world in less than a week. It seems so far away. If you look on the globe I'm on the exact opposite side of the world of one of my best buddies, Elder Max Moncur! Start digging Max hahaha! The toilets will flush the opposite way and it will be summer. It will be a fun little jump to get two summers in a row! I miss all of you and wish you all the best! Write me! If you write me at the MTC now it wont get to me for a while... so send me a Dear Elder, email me, of send a letter down to argentina. there is also this thing called pouch mail where you send a letter to Salt Lake and then the Church will send it down to me. I will have my mom get instructions for that up! Well, Hasta Luego! Next time you hear from me I'll be in Argentina!

Con amor, Elder Tyler Whitaker

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"...3 days shy of a month in paradise".

Hola mi familia y mis amigos!

Ty & Jared Barton (a buddy he has grown up with)
Como le va? I hope everything is going well! I am just 3 days shy of a month in paradise! If you count paradise as working as hard as you can 16 hours a day to learn Spanish and how to teach people. As hard as it is I'm loving it. I have been working as hard as I can and its nice to see some of the results start coming in. I can't tell you how cool it is to understand what people are saying to you, what you are reading, and what you are singing, after all this hard work I have put in! It is so amazing to see results. I have been having a good time in the MTC!

Its starting to get cold up here. I has snowed on us a couple times but it hasn't stuck to the ground yet. Gym time when we play basketball out hands are so frozen that dribbling is like hitting the ball with a 2x4. We still have a fun time at Gym though. Yesterday we took a break from basketball for the day to play some volleyball and it got pretty intense. We have some pretty good athletes in my zone so we were going all out! It reminded me of this summer at Newport beach having all those beach volleyball games and getting super jacked up whenever anybody scored a point. Half the fun was just going crazy after a point. I felt like how you, Trent, are everyday in the house hahaha.  Definitely a good stress reliever. I'm not going to lie I'm kinda jealous of the weather back home. Mom, your letter about the beach and Trey your pics of you getting shacked you drew didn't help hahaha. But keep those letters coming! I love them! Its a good thing that I am out of here in just 2 weeks! If all goes well with visa stuff for Argentina in two weeks I will be down at the beginning of an Argentino summer! That will be weird!

I changed companions again. Now I'm in a trio with Elder Baum, from Harreman Utah, and Elder Hegerhorst, from Napa Idaho. We get a long pretty well so that is good! We work well together. Our district is definitely the most disciplined and it shows which is good! This week I got to see some friendly faces which is always nice! They moved everybody spanish speaking down to the west campus so since that has happened I have gotten to see Elder Jared Barton, Elder Wyatt Corbin, and Sister Dapper. I don't know how many more times I will get to see Elder Corbin because he is out of here next week! I got a chance to talk with Elder Barton which was super fun. We were talking about how weird it is that just 4 months ago we were at the river messing around and doing dumb stuff from the odds game, and now we are missionaries. Not that we don't still play the odds game. I got my whole zone going on it now. We have had some good ones. Probably the best is when this Elder had to drink coke, chocolate milk, and salt and pepper. That was fun. For those of you who don't know the odds game... you can think of anything that wont cause physical harm and ask somebody what are the odds they do it. somebody gives odds, lets say 1/5, and then you count to 3 and then say a number between 1 and, in this case, 5. If you guess the same number then the person has to do whatever you challenged them to do. It is way fun and with me and all of my buddies on missions in on 5 of 7 continents right now.

Don't worry, I do more than mess around up here though. This is hard work. I have 16 hour days every day. I study spanish and the scriptures around 10 hours a day. Since my district is so small now we just absorbed all the people that were being taught by two companionships. We teach 4 investigators a day all in spanish. You can see how hard we must be working and how much the Lord has blessed us for our work when you can see that we can teach 4 people in their own language about the gospel and have them understand. It is so amazing for me to be able to understand what people are saying to me, what I'm reading, and what I'm singing. It has been such hard work but the reward is so awesome! My testimony grows everyday about the truth of the message I have been called to share with the world. Life is so hard but as I have been able to simplify life and look at it through a spiritual lens it is so amazing. Family, its really hard hearing every week about some of the trials you go through and I wish more than anything that I could just do something to help you. But, Mom, it has been amazing to see in your letters your faith. That has been what I have been praying for specifically for you is to have the faith to overcome the obstacles and when you look past the obstacles we have been truly blessed as a family and individually. How lucky are we to have the family we have? I read a scripture in Doctrine and Covenants section 100:1. It felt like it was talking to me about my family. I know God is our father in Heaven and loves us all. I know Christ is our savior and redeemer, I know that prophets guide us today like they have in the past, I know that families can be together forever, and I am so glad to share this message. 
Yo se que esas cosas son verdaderas.

I love you all and hope you write me. Letters take a long time to get here and I only have 2 weeks left so it might be better to send me a dear elder. Hasta Luego!

Elder Tyler Whitaker