Monday, December 23, 2013

"...I'm dying of heat".

Hola mi familia y mis amigos!

Feliz Navidad! I am having my first christmas where I am dying of heat. It is 38 degrees celcius. If anyone cares to translate that to farrenheit feel free but it feels like its in the 90´s. Life as a missionary is still the same reguardless of what day it is though except on christmas eve and christmas we only get to work from 3-6 because the calles arent going to be that safe, but dont worry mom I´m totally fine. I havent been in danger once. 

On saturday we had the Argentine version of follor the star for our barrio. It was with all the little kids del barrio! it was so funny to see all of them all dressed up. Matias, a kid we are teaching who I am baptizing this coming friday, was Joseph which was pretty legit. Its funny how the Church is the same everywhere in the world! 

Its kinda a bummer because this week has been kinda slow because of the holidays, and the next one will be even slower, which I am kinda mad about but its all good. I get to skype my family which will be awesome! We spent a lot of the week visiting members that don´t go to church very often and inviting them to the ward party and sharing a message with them.

A funny thing that happened this week is we were clapping doors and we came across an old lady doing yard work. I went up to her y said, " Quiere ayuda?" but I guess either i said it with a really bad gringo accent or she didn´t hear very well because she was old, so she didnt hear. I said it again louder and i guess she got freaked out so she hurried into her house and lopcked the door. My companion said she probably thought I was going to rob her. I felt so bad but looking back its pretty funny. Also I saw my first bearded lady. I was walking down the street and without paying to much attention said hola to some people on the street and one of them called out to me so I stopped to talk and the lady had straight up 5 o´clock shadow. I´m not even going to have that much facial hair for like 5 years.

I had a cool expierience this past week. Elder Silar and I have been amping up my spanish training and speaking basicaly in only spanish. We were on a bus to a meeting and he just says to me I want you to go talk to that lady by yourself and teach her before we get off the bus. so pretty much i just walked across the bus and sat next top her and asked her about herself a little and taught her about the  restoration. It was intense because she had a lot of questions because she was hard core evengelista. I was actually able to answer them pretty well and teach effectively. I just said what came to my mind and it was pretty cool. Elder Silar told me after he thought i definitly was going down but he said that I did really well. Thats the spirit ast work because without help I probably would have crashed and burned.

Well I want to wish all of you a merry christmas, and I want you to remeber the true meaning or Christmas. I feel like this Christmas will be a lot more meaningful. Everyday I am here and everytime I teach sombody about our savior my love for him grows. I would like all of you to remember Jesus Christ this christmas and remember what he has done for us. By remebering him and keeping him in your thoughts it is possible to experience true peace and happiness that can only come from him ( John 14:27 I think).  If anybody would like to grow closer to our savior or expiereince this peace or joy more abundantly in your life I´m sure that there are two missionaries just like me that are serving in your area that would love to help you experience that peace more abundantly.

I love you all! Feliz Navidad!

Elder Tyler Whitaker

Monday, December 16, 2013

"I'm getting into the swing of things..."

Hola mi familia y mis amigos,
Como anda? Hows life back in the States? Everything down here is great. I am getting into the swing of things and am really enjoying myself down here. Right now im sure some of my friends are up at college, or will be back at college after the holidays, and will be freezing your butts off. I am on the bottom of the world right now where it is summer. Its is so hot and humid all the time here and then randomly a huge thunderstorm will come out of nowhere in an hour and be gone just as fast. It is pretty cool to see but not so fun to ride around in. I am getting a pretty sick missionary tan. Que bueno!

Argentina is awesome as always. One of my favorite things is the trash fires. A lot of people get impatient waiting for the trash man to come so they just take their trash out to their front yard and light it on fire. I love when I am riding real hard and get to take a nice breath of trash fire. En serio, Argentina is awesome though. La Plata, the city i am in has a tradition of building these giant dolls and then on new years they load them with dynamite and blow them up. hopefully im not lockied in the pench and get to see it!  One thing that is funny is that all entertainment down here is American. All the disney channel stuff that my sister watches, songs from back home, and movies. A lot of the munecas for blowing up are minions from despicable me. 

The other day I got to teach sombody about the gosple while their neighbors were blasting the song "wrecking ball" by Miley Cyrus. Never thought i would get to do that! As far as the work goes it has been going well. We have 2 new families that we are teaching that i feel will progress in their faith really fast. They are looking to help their families and that is just what this gosple is for! To bless families by having more hapiness and unity in this life and being together forever in the life to come! I have really learned the importance of working with members in the church. All you members do your home teaching and invite all your friends to come and see for themselves. There is a really good talk by president Uctdorf from this past octobers general conference from the saturday morning session. Read it! 

Its weird that I am going to be away from home for my first christmas but I will be with you in spirit! I love you all!

Elder Tyler Whitaker
(below are some excerpts of Ty's letter to me and Brent.  He is answering some of my questions about various things including the police strikes and rioting happening all over Argentina last week...)

I miss you guys so much! its hard to believe that christmas is next week! I have some good plans though and I{m super excited to talk to you guys! I hope all is well with all of you! Trey Ill be praying for you with your surgery! I know you will be fine! I am doing well out here. Everything is going well and im getting into the swing of things. I dont feel so overwhelmed anymore and am enjoying myself a lot despite working 16 hours a day. funny how that works! I hope everything is well with all of you I have been praying for each of you! dad i finally got your dear elders! i cut out that speach from vince lombardi and put it in my journal. I miss they Boys club pow wows con smoothies tambien. those were some good times!La plata is the only city in our mission where the police are not on strike so im chillin and fine but we are taking precaution and getting back to the pench by dark every night so dont worry momma i am fine! I love youI am good! i got mail today and on wednesday so it is super nice to hear from everybody! i miss peanut butter but i am doing well. our lunch bailed on us yesterday so i actually cooked and made spaghetti. Im sure you are super proud of me. My comp got bitten a couple days ago so we are breaking out the daser today and having some fun hahha

Monday, December 9, 2013

"Argentina is awesome and crazy at the same time..."

The market a few blocks from "home"

Hola mi familia y mis amigos!

Como anda? I hope all is well with each one of you. Its is funny how random things down here will remind me of times with friends and family. It has been two months since i said goodbye to all of you! Crazy stuff. sometimes it feels like nothing and sometimes it feels like an eternity! Well Argentina is awesome and crazy at the same time!

A little about my daily life...
This is "La Plata".  I am on the outskirts of this city.
So I am on a bike so thats kinda fun and I get to see a lot of awesome things that i would never see in the states. The little kids here are awesome! They just run around and do whatever they want and are so funny (except when they throw rocks at me). They just throw fireworks around and blow stuff up and I can´t help but think thats what me and my buddies would be doing if we lived down here hahaha. There are wild dogs everywhere! some of them are kinda cute and some look like zombies from wouunds and mutations from drinking from the sankas (open sewage ducts). I was going to try to keep count of how many times i got chased but i lost track like the third day because it happens all the time. One of my buddies got his pants ripped open the first day here! I kicked my first dog yesterday. There was a particularly persistant one chasing me so while I was riding I donkey kicked it in the face and it stopped. I felt pretty legit after. For all you people out there that think that that was mean. Lo siento Its either that or get bitten hahaha. Its always either super hot or raining too so thats always fun. There was a big storm and it took out water and power for a couple days so that was a fiesta!

We have been working this area super hard! We went from having 2 people we were teaching my first day here to over 10 now which is pretty good! we had another baptism on saturday which was a super good experience and another either this saturday or next saturday. The next one chose me to baptize him so that is super cool! We have also been bringing some families back to church that weren't going. We have had some super spiritual lessons with some people. Yesterday one of them asked for a blessing and my comp looked at me and said, "Elder Whitaker can" ( for those of you who read my blog that aren´t LDS, one of the fundemental beliefs of our church is that, just as in past times and in the church Christ established on the earth, we have a living prophet and the power and authority of God just as they did in the bible. Because of this, I have the authority to give blessings). So here i am just barely grasping the language and trying to speak the words she needs to hear. At first it was shaky and I even gave a little bit in english because she said I could because she would still be blessed whether it was in english or spanish, but then the spirit started working through me and for me it was a miracle. From that point on it was in perfect spanish and I was blessing her to understand and expirience certain things that I hadn´t even thought that she needed in her life. I recieved revelation for what she needed and it was amazing to me.

As a missionary I am here to serve. A lot of people think when they see the shirts, ties, and name badge, that we are just preachers but we are here to serve. Everything we do is motivated by our desire to help and bless the lives of the people around us. We teach and share our unique message to the world under that umbrella of service. I know personally that is why I am here, because I and my family have been greatly blessed by this message that families can be together forever, God speaks to the world today through prophets, and having knowledge of "where we came from?" "why we are here on earth?" and "where we are going?". I want all to be able to recieve these blessing into their home. Sorry I got sidetracked but anyway we have been going around offering service to people who look like they need it. My favorite thin i have done so far is dig a well! its going to be 5 meters deep and I´m pretty sure around 6ft is like 2 meters but don´t quote me on that. Its pretty legit. When I go back I´ll take a picture! 

Well my castellano gets better everyday. Its so awesome to go back and visit somebody that I didnt understand last week and be able to talk with them. I am getting the hang of it with the Lord´s help. Keep praying though because I´m not fluent yet!  Everybody talks in their own way so some people i can understand perfect and others i walk out of the house saying "I have no idea what they were trying to tell me".  But it gets better every day. I cant wait till im fluent though! I need a Latino comp! we had splits the other day and I had a latino all day and I got through the day fine but I really see how much that would help me learn faster. I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting the other day and the members who didn´t know me thought i had been out a couple months so thats good!

Well I think that about covers my adventures for the week down here! write me dear elders and stuff because I miss hearing from all of you! Nos vemos!

Elder Tyler Whitaker

Monday, December 2, 2013

This week has been really good and really challenging!

Hola everybody!

Today I have super short time because my comp scheduled an appointment during email time but I will try to fit in as much as I can. 

This week has been really good and really challenging! I dont know where to start! well for starters when I got here I didn´t know castellano so I could understand like nobody but it gets better everyday. There are people that i had appointments with the first couple weeks that i understood none of, that this week I can understand and communicate with without having to ask them to repeat too much!

We had a baptism this week of a little girl named Jazmin. So awesome! It was amazing to see her face after she got baptized. It was also awesome to see her family. The gosple is truly for families to help them be happy on this earth and to be together for eternity! so amazing!

Two days ago I was riding around clapping doors on my bike and a group of like ten 11-13 year olds started throwing rocks at me, so thats always fun. Now I have a good story to tell at parties right? hahaha as Christ says in the sermon on the mount, blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness sake!

Ty's a missionary!!
My companion is pushing me which is good. He has been making me lead all of the lessons and stuff and makes me think of how to say stuff and won´t help me with words which has been challenging but it has helped me a lot. The other two elders in our barrio got taken to another area because another area needed missionaries so I have double the area and double the work now which is good! just really tiring because our area is about 100x45 blocks. long way to ride. We have 2 baptisms coming up that should happen on friday so that will be good!

got to go!

Elder Tyler Whitaker

P.s my spelling and stuff is probably really bad because this keyboard doesnt have all buttons working.
Ty, Elder Silar, and Jazmin on baptism day!!
Ty admiring this cool "swag wagon"